Add the Erie Canal to the waterways that are routinely under the watchful eye of the seasonal marine patrol operated by the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office.
The department has received a $30,000 grant from the Canal. Corp. to regularly patrol the 32 miles of the canal that cut a swath across the county. In addition, the department will monitor pathways along the canal. In the past the boat patrol has concentrated its efforts on Oneida, Delta, Kayuta and White lakes and Hinckley Reservoir.
"The Oneida County Sheriff’s Office is happy to partner with the New York State Canal Corp., through its marine patrol grant, to increase our presence along the entire 32 miles of Canal that run through our county, as well as Oneida Lake, and to provide for the safety of our boaters," said Sheriff Robert M. Maciol. "With this grant, we look forward to further deterring illegal activity while proactively keeping these areas safe and enjoyable for everyone’s use."
Department vessels used on Oneida Lake, as well as personal watercraft, will be utilized for canal patrols and bicycles and all-terrain vehicles for the walkways, said James McCarthy, sheriff’s office spokesman. He said the patrol has gone out on the canal sporadically in the past, but now it will have regular patrols.
The reimbursement-basis grants will fund up to 75 percent of local marine safety patrol operations conducted on waterways that are part of the 524-mile-long state canal system. The grants awarded to seven sheriff’s departments total $218,032.
"... we are pleased to help local law enforcement officials reinforce their own, individual efforts to ensure a safe and enjoyable boating season this year along the canal," said Canal Corp. Director Brian U. Stratton. "And the annual observance of National Safe Boating week helps us bring attention to the critically important issue of boating safety. These community-based grants will ensure that our waterways are patrolled by marine units with the training, experience, and local knowledge necessary to fill this critical need."