Why is the Coast Guard Patrolling New York Canals?
Law enforcement was on high alert in upstate New York this week. While the Coast Guard generally evokes images of ocean patrols, there was recently a different type of mission underway when they teamed up with another enforcement agency.
Canals in New York state helped transform our country into an industrial giant. The Erie Canal connected the great lakes to New York City by linking Lake Erie and Lake Ontario to the Hudson River. Locally, the Delaware and Hudson Canal connected its namesake rivers and is still a point of pride in the Hudson Valley to this day. But what is the Coast Guard doing in our modern canal system?
The Coast Guard Patrols Canals in Upstate New York
"In September and October, ECOs in DEC Region 7 teamed up with members of the U.S. Coast Guard to patrol New York State's canals", the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) shared. Their mission focused on boats traveling the active canals. From the NYS DEC:
[Environmental Conservation Officers] focused on the enforcement of Environmental Conservation and Navigation laws while the U.S. Coast Guard focused on inspecting safety equipment on vessels traveling the canals. Officers issued 15 tickets and written warnings for violations related to fishing, waterfowl hunting, and lack of proper safety equipment, including Personal Flotation Devices.
NYS DEC and the Coast Guard Team Up
The multi-agency operation may come as a surprise to New Yorkers who thought that canals were a relic of the past. "The canal system connects many of the Finger Lakes to the international waters of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence Seaway", explained the NYS DEC. The international nature of the canals may also be a reason the Coast Guard was involved.
About the United States Coast Guard
The United States Coast Guard is not only a branch of the United States military, but it's the only military branch that is associated with of the Department of Homeland Security. Its multi-jurisdiction in both American and international waters puts them right at home on the Canadian border.
From joint missions with the United States military to watching trail cams for fascinating animal behavior, a day with the NYS DEC never seems to be dull. Check out photos from more daring NYS DEC rescues (including a helicopter hoist) below.
New York DEC Forest Ranger Rescues Fall 2023
Gallery Credit: Conor Walsh
11 People Including Rangers, Climbers and a Helicopter Needed to Rescue Hiker
Gallery Credit: Tad Pole