Marine patrol and boating safety improvements ready for summer season

BROADALBIN, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Memorial Day is the unofficial start of the summer season on the lake.

An extensive week-long marine patrol and dive team training was held on the Great Sacandaga Lake in preparation for the holiday weekend.

The Fulton County Sheriff’s Department has a new tool that will be implemented for marine patrol during this summer.

Actually the goal is to never have to use it.

It’s called a side scan sonar and it’s a device that helps to quickly locate and recover objects from the bottom of the murky lake, whether it’s a capsized boat or a body.

Sadly, last summer there were two individuals that drowned on this lake.

One on the Saratoga county side of the lake and one on the Fulton county side.

Now the two departments are partnering up when it comes to incidents out on the water. Saratoga has the dive team, and Fulton now has the technology to narrow their search.

You may remember 12 year old Dominick LaFountain and 18 year old Sean Craig who died last summer.

Well the Craig family has since set up a fund in his memory and raised enough money to buy the sonar. They hope that if a tragedy like theirs ever happened again, the family wouldn’t have to go through the heart-wrenching waiting process for divers to recover the body.

The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office is appreciative of this effort to improve marine patrolling and boating safety.

“This helps speed up the process. It’s another set of eyes in the water. It can cover 160 feet in each direction where a diver in the water it takes a lot longer to cover that same area,” said Deputy Sheriff, Chris House.

“The thing they rely on you to do is help ease their pain the best you can and help recover their family member as soon as you can. The hope is always that we can rescue someone, the odds with a drowning is it’s very difficult after 20 minutes to have success,” said Sheriff, Richard Giardino.

Giardino said while he loves to see people out enjoying the 44 lakes this county has to offer, but he asks that everyone do it safely.

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