ITHACA, N.Y. — Now that warm weather finally appears to be here, the Ithaca Fire Department has some tips for local residents and visitors to stay safe this summer while swimming or boating.

Below is the full safety message from the IFD:

The Ithaca Fire Department wants to remind the community of the dangers of swimming in our gorges. Underwater currents, loose shale, and other dangers make our gorges and waterways dangerous if not enjoyed responsibly and safely. People are expected to follow posted signs that prohibit swimming and trespassing. Please enjoy our beautiful area responsibly and safely.

  • Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone. Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.
  • Never leave a young child unattended near water and do not trust a child’s life to another child; teach children to always ask permission to go near water. Maintain constant supervision.
  • Make sure everyone in your family learns to swim well. Enroll in age-appropriate water orientation and learn-to-swim courses.
  • If you have a pool, secure it with appropriate barriers. Many children who drown in home pools were out of sight for less than five minutes and in the care of one or both parents at the time.
  • Avoid distractions when supervising children around water. If a child is missing, check the water first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability.
  • Have appropriate equipment, such as reaching or throwing equipment, a cell phone, life jackets and a first aid kit. Know how and when to call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.

When boating on Cayuga Lake, please be careful. Our finger lake is shared by many motor boaters, kayakers, sailboats, jet skis, swimmers, water skiers and others … be aware of the vessels around you.

Who is required to wear Personal Flotation Devices:

  • Children under the age of twelve unless they are in a fully enclosed cabin. The PFD must be the appropriate size for the child.
  • Anyone operating or riding on a personal watercraft (Jet Ski, Wave Runner, or similar craft)
  • Anyone being towed behind another vessel such as water skiers, tubers, para-sailing, etc. You are exempt if you are on a disabled vessel and being towed.
  • Anyone riding in a pleasure vessel less than 21 feet, including rowboats, canoes, and kayaks, between Nov. 1 and May 1.

The warm weather is upon us, so be safe and enjoy the summer!


This article was submitted on behalf of a person or organization in Tompkins County. The Ithaca Voice posts community announcements to provide readers with information directly from local businesses and...