ALEXANDRIA BAY, N.Y. (WWTI) — The brisk fall winds means that boating season will soon come to a close on the St. Lawrence River.

However, as many remain on the water well into October, seasonal hazards will continue to emerge. This is especially as water levels remain below average, created by drought-like conditions this past summer.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard in Alexandria Bay, many boating seasons have been cut short, and officers have responded to calls in the region regarding vessels that hit shoals.

“Usually we’ll see boats on the water until mid-October, but we’re already seeing boats pulled now,” Senior Chief Peter Nelson said, who is the Alexandria Bay Coast Guard Station Officer-in-Charge. “That’s I think directly attributed to the water depth, and the hazards that are on the River right now.”

Nelson said that awareness is crucial during the fall months. All boaters are urged to keep charts and GPS navigation systems on hand to prepare for the changing conditions.

“Water that may have been deep enough for [boaters] to transit earlier this year is definitely hazardous this time of year,” he said. “Hitting bottom, damaging their boat, damaging their prop can leave them disable, or taking on water, or possibly sink.”

Combined with the low water levels, the weather is also a concern this time of year as conditions can change rapidly over the large North Country waterbodies.

The Coast Guard warned that boaters should be aware of cooler air, quickly dropping water temperatures and the future forecast.

Local boaters are also urged to take the following precautions before heading out on the water this fall:

  • Wear protective apparel
  • Always wear a life jacket
  • Ensure your boat will float
  • Form a float plan
  • Communicate your trip with friends or family
  • Have all safety equipment on board