Coast Guard Urges Caution On Water Due To Flood Debris

Coast Guard Urges Caution On Water Due To Flood Debris

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This spring's record high waters are dragging with them debris like logs down the St. Lawrence River, becoming a new danger for boaters.

The U.S. Coast Guard is advising people to be more careful than usual out on the water.

"Maybe a little bit slower than you normally would because these things, they may look small on the surface, but it's like an iceberg. Something small on the surface could be big underneath," said Boatswain's Mate 1st Class Jade Andrews, U.S. Coast Guard.

Floating debris isn't the only danger; many docks are fully submerged and nearly invisible.

"Docks are now under water so where you think there was a dock before, or where you knew there was a dock because you could see it, now it may be 3, 4, 5 inches under water," said Andrews.

Many docks are marked with large barrels, or even taped off to warn boaters they are there.

But Andrews says at night that's not always enough.

"From here you can barely tell that there's even a dock there. If it was dark out, you wouldn't even know that was there, you'd run right over it," he said.

If you have a canoe, kayak, paddle board, anything else that's not registered, get a sticker from the Coast Guard and slap it on, in case it floats away.

"Feel free to write your name and contact number in 'em. That way if somebody does find it, we have a way to contact you to make sure you're still safe, you weren't out there in it," said Andrews.

If you see any large debris floating in the river, Andrews says you should contact either Seaway Operations at (315) 764-3200, or the Coast Guard in Buffalo at (716) 843-9527.

The seaway is responsible for keeping the channel clear.

Because of high water levels, the St. Lawrence Seaway has reduced the speed limit to 10 knots along the entire length of the river from Montreal to Cape Vincent. It's strictly enforcing it - handing out violations.

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