Putnam County Sheriff Donald B. Smith reports that the Sheriff’s Marine Patrol Unit will be distributing free ice cream to young boaters who are wearing life jackets on Lake Mahopac this Sunday (June 15th). The treat is intended to raise awareness of the importance of life jackets and to incentivize compliance with a law that requires boaters under 12 years old to wear one.
“Just as parents and teachers reward kids for good conduct, we want to encourage and reward safe boating practices, and an ice cream treat is a positive incentive for kids,” said Sheriff Smith. The Sheriff said that a life jacket can be the most important piece of equipment to have in the event of an emergency on the water.
Sergeant Michael Szabo, who supervises the Sheriff’s Office Marine Patrol Unit, will hand out the cool treats to the first 200 boaters under aged 12 who are spotted wearing a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket on Lake Mahopac this Sunday. Sgt. Szabo will be patrolling the lake that day on a special patrol boat emblazoned on its sides with a large picture of a life jacket and the words “WEAR IT.” That boat is on temporary loan to the Sheriff’s Office from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation, through its safe boating program.
Funding for the ice cream is being provided by the Sheriff’s Office and by a donation from the Mahopac Marina. Similar ice cream handouts are being planned on the other bodies of water patrolled by the Sheriff’s Office patrol boats: Lake Oscawana in Putnam Valley and the Hudson River.
While youngsters receive the ice cream treat, Sgt. Szabo will be assisting adult boaters with any questions relating to required safety equipment, navigation rules and regulations, and tips for safe operation of their boats.
Media representatives who, for reporting purposes, wish to participate in a ride-along on the patrol boat during Sunday’s ice cream giveaway are invited to call Sgt. Szabo to make arrangements. Please call the sergeant at (845) 222-9794.