“County Officials Reminds Residents to Use Caution When Boating on the River”
Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Elmira- With local fire departments carrying out two river rescues in the past three weeks Chemung County officials would like to take this opportunity to remind residents that swimming in the Chemung River is strongly discouraged and to use caution when canoeing, kayaking, and boating on the river. “The Chemung River can be a spectacular venue for recreation but it can also be dangerous,” said Chemung County Executive Tom Santulli. “It is important that we have respect for the elements and enter the water with a safety-conscious mind.”
The following precautions are recommended to have a safe, enjoyable experience on the river.
• Know your abilities and limitations and be properly trained in watercraft use.
• Learn to swim.
• Wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket or personal flotation device (pfd) when you are in or around the river.
• Tell someone where you are going, when you expect to return, and where to call if you don't. Never boat alone.
• Know the weather conditions and forecast as well as the river levels. River levels can change drastically depending on rainfall.
• Don’t boat under the influence of alcohol.
• Be aware of the currents in the water.
• Walk your intended route and make note of landmarks and visible hazards.
• Carry a hand held air horn, they are inexpensive and very small.
There are six launch sites on the Chemung River in the County from Big Flats to Ashland.
“We really want people to remember it is not a good idea to swim in the Chemung River,” said Mark Cicora, Director of the Chemung County Office of Fire and Emergency Management. “Although the river may appear placid on the surface, river currents can be very powerful and can pull, even an experienced swimmer, under the water. In addition, river water can be very dark and murky, and debris under the surface, trees and snags, are not always visible and can easily tangle or trap a person. We just need people to enjoy the river responsibly,” Cicora said.