The Oneida County Sheriff’s Marine Section is responsible for water safety and enforcement efforts on six lakes (Oneida, Delta, Hinckley, White, Kayuta and Otter) and portions of the Barge Canal within the County of Oneida.
Marine Patrol Deputies utilize various boats and personal watercrafts to patrol the waterways and to assure that boaters, swimmers and other water-sport enthusiasts are provided a safe environment to enjoy their summer recreational activities in Oneida County. Marine Patrol Deputies also conduct boating safety classes each year to educate boaters of all ages regarding the rules of the nautical road.
Marine Patrol Deputies are assigned to several different lakes throughout the summer months in an effort to provide them with a greater understanding of different needs and problems that exist on waterways throughout the County. Marine Patrol Deputies work closely with Uniformed Patrol Deputies and exchange information and ideas to provide the best coverage possible.
Beginning with the year 2004, all operators (of any age) of Personal Water Craft (PWC) must have completed a boating safety course and must possess a Boating Safety Certificate.
The new law only applies to the operation of Personal Water Craft (Jet Skis, Wet Bikes). It does not apply to motorized vessels such as motorboats. The laws concerning the operation of motorized vessels other than PWCs has not changed, and anyone 18 or older can still operate a motorboat without a certificate.
As in years past, the Sheriff’s Office will conduct several boating safety courses during the boating season, but it is anticipated that demand will far exceed the course openings. This is unfortunate for those PWC operators who have not obtained their certificates, but there is nothing the Sheriff’s Office can do to alleviate the problem.
The requirement that PWC operators of all ages possess a Boater Safety Certificate has been gradually phased in since the year 2000, when all persons nineteen and under were required to possess a certificate. For the year 2001, the age was twenty three and under; 2002, twenty seven and under; 2003, thirty one and under; 2004, all PWC operators.
Beginning January 1, 2006, the operation of Personal Watercraft by persons age 10-13 is restricted. Effective January 1, 2009, the minimum age for operation of a Personal Watercraft is 14. Additional information concerning changes to the Navigation Law can be read on the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation website.
The Sheriff's Office also deploys snowmobile patrols, bicycle patrols, and all terrain vehicle patrols for various events, incidents, and enforcement assignments county-wide.