LAKE GEORGE Over Labor Day weekend, a rented speedboat crashed into another boat and a state dock at Burgess Island at night, and the operator fled.
The driver was arrested hours later, but that and another serious collision involving a rented boat this summer have prompted a push for consistent training for people who rent boats on Lake George.
The Lake George Park Commission is developing a short video and a manual that will bring consistency to the training done for renters at the 20 private marinas spread around the lake.
"The idea is to give information along with the rental so that the persons who rent the boat can do so responsibly and safely," said David Wick, executive director of the park commission.
There are 500 voters registered for rental at the lake, one of the most popular recreational lakes in the Northeast.
Each marina currently requires renters to complete informational and training programs, but park officials said they vary in quality.
The two accidents involving rentals, along with a fatal crash in July that did not involve rentals, have brought new attention to safety on the lake, where large and small boats, para-sailers and kayakers all mix.
In late August, park commission officials, most of the marinas and Warren County District Attorney Kate Hogan met in Lake George to discuss how to improve safety, and reached the agreement to standardize renter training.
“We have a responsibility to ensure that we are doing all we can to prevent accidents on Lake George, and working with marinas on a standardized and well-thought-out training regimen for all boat renters is a great step forward," said Bruce Young, chairman of the park commission board.
The materials are expected to include a short training video, written cards on each boat, and basic hands-on boat-handling skills training.
The S.A.V.E Lake George Partnership, which includes communities and organizations around the lake, is picking up the roughly $3,000 cost of making the video.
“We feel this is a wise investment for Lake George and our visitors, as public safety on the lake is absolutely critical to keeping our region the wonderful tourist destination that it is," said Lake George Mayor Robert Blais, chairman of the partnership.
The Lake George Association will pick up the $1,500 to $2,000 cost of an instruction card to be distributed at marinas.
“The LGA has long been involved in boating safety issues on Lake George and feels that this is a very important step toward making sure all of our boaters are well-equipped to be out on the lake,” said Walt Lender, executive director of the association, which represents businesses and property owners around the lake.
Wick said there will be no cost to the marinas for the materials.
“All marinas on Lake George who rent boats currently have some level of training program for their renters," said Roger Phinney of Queensbury, director of the Eastern NY Marine Trades Association. "What this effort does is to make it consistent and comprehensive so that we are all on the same page."
The materials are being prepared this fall for distribution to marinas in the spring.