Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Local News

July 7, 2013

HILTS: Border water concerns affecting resource usage


Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — If you’ve been boating in the upper Niagara River, that’s one of the reasons you are probably seeing increased traffic in the East River. The West River around Grand Island is almost entirely in Canadian waters.

Not to be outdone, U.S. Coast Guard in the lower Niagara River has been harassing boats of late, performing time-consuming safety checks – even when none are required. Area charter captains, recognizing that this could affect their fishing operations, will often put their boats through voluntary safety checks early in the season so that they won’t be hassled with customers on board. The boat is given a safety sticker to show that it passed inspection and that everything is in order.

Unfortunately, a few of the local Coast Guard patrols want to still wield their power and have been pulling over boats – some of which have been checked and approved by Coast Guard people in the past two weeks – to perform safety checks. As a result, the word is out around the boating community and it is keeping people off the water. The Harbor Master at the Village of Lewiston launch ramp was quoted as saying “It’s like a ghost town down there!”

We will have more on this in the future as some meetings are being set up with the local Coast Guard station. In the meantime, make sure you have the proper safety equipment on board and don’t be surprised if you get pulled over for no reason at all. Word is that they are required to pull over a certain number of boats and if local traffic is down, that will increase the odds to getting boarded.

Hooked on the Tonawandas a success

The Third Annual Hooked on the Tonawandas Tournament was held June 29-30 out of Gateway Harbor in North Tonawanda. According to local organizer Kurt Alverson, the tournament enjoyed some great success as far as numbers of competing registrants. Over 125 adults registered for the two-day event, as well as nearly 60 kids in the free junior division – double what they had last year when it was just a tagged fish contest. More than $2,000 in prize money was handed out – but it should have been double that. Unfortunately, Mother Nature had a say in what was happening out there.

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