Many Lake George and New York State (NYS) officials, area visitors and local residents have called for a permanent end to Log Bay Day after a fatal boating accident occurred following the annual July party. The incident sparked an online petition that gathered over 1,000 signatures in support of its demise, and a reexamination of existing NYS boating laws is underway. None to soon, as two more similar boating accidents have recently occurred on the lake.
Despite the community’s desire to end the mayhem, stopping Log Bay Day is proving to be a rather difficult task. However, Lake George officials aren’t giving up.
The Fight to End Log Bay Day
County supervisors in both Warren and Washington counties have gone on record calling for a stop to the “advertising and promoting” of Log Bay Day. The resolution to stop promoting the event was passed unanimously by the Public Safety Committee in Washington County and the Legislative & Rules Committee in Warren County.
Unfortunately, they can’t completely put a stop to the party – the annual celebration is considered to be a crowdsourced event (not sponsored by anyone), making it difficult to declare it’s illegal. Also, the lake is owned by the state, as is the adjoining land to access Log Bay.
“What [the resolution] does is asks the state agencies to do something about it,” Argyle Supervisor and Chairman of the Washington County Board of Supervisors Robert Henke told The Post Star.
Officials are also aiming to call on the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Lake George Park Commission to bring the event to a halt. While the DEC has yet to take a stance, the Park Commission has started taking steps to stop Log Bay Day come next July; the Park Commission is however remaining quiet on exactly what these steps are.
Log Bay Day happens every year on the last Monday in July, bringing between 800 and 1,000 people to a small area on the eastern shore of Lake George. The large crowd drinks, parties, and hangs out in the water, often getting out of control. The celebration has gotten progressively more destructive over the years.
The most recent Log Bay Day not only brought about the boating accident that killed a young girl, but it also resulted in one serious injury, at least 26 criminal arrests, and 50 tickets for non-criminal arrests and motor vehicle violations.
Marine Patrol Officer at the Lake George Park Commission Bill VanNess has acted on incidents and emergencies at Log Bay Day for 15 years, and has seen two accidents result in broken necks and paralyzation.
“I’ve really never seen anything productive come out of it,” he told News10 ABC about the giant party. “It’s grown to the point where it’s pretty much uncontrollable for us at this time.”
Two More Boating Accidents
Aqib Jaweed of New Jersey is facing charges after his rented 17-foot SeaRay collided with a 19-foot KeyWest in his path late last month on Lake George. Unable to stop, the boat went right over the other one – this is eerily similar to what happened with the boating accident after Log Bay Day.
Jaweed was towing a person in a tube at the time, and he was watching his tuber instead of the front of the boat. Brock Wilson, a passenger in the KeyWest, was struck and went to Glens Falls Hospital with head and neck injuries.
Part of the reason why these boating accidents happen could be a combination of more rental boat traffic on the water in general, and also the fact that one only needs a driver’s license to rent a boat; you’re not required to take a boating course, although it’s recommended.
Earlier this month, a second accident occurred. Benjamin D. Byland drove his rented 20-foot Southwind deck boat right over an unoccupied 19-foot Stingray boat that was docked at Burgess Island. According to the Times Union, the boat supposedly struck and broke the dock, then proceeded onto the island where it struck a tree.
After attempting to restart his boat and failing, Byland swam back to shore in Huletts Landing, making his way back to a camp he was staying at in Ticonderoga. Byland was later charged with reckless operation of a vessel and several other violations: failure to report a boat accident, failure to display navigation lights, and exceeding 5 miles per hour within 100 feet of shore.
The recent boating accidents only further cement the notion that something needs to be done to make Lake George waters safer. A combination of eliminating Log Bay Day and stricter boating laws would be an excellent start.