Lake Rules and Safety

Boats have been a part of life in America for hundreds of years, but never in numbers as large as today. Boats contribute to the quality of life and our recreational enjoyment, but ironically, they can also play a role in stressing the ecosystem. While the effect of a single boat on a body of water like Saratoga Lake may seem insignificant, multiply it by the hundreds of boats in use and such effects become both significant and apparent.

As we realize the limits of use waterways can tolerate, and how close we are to those limits, it becomes
essential for each of us to Waterskifollow the best possible environmental practices in using our boats.

Marine sanitation, bottom painting, surface cleaning, engine maintenance and general boat operating habits
are all factors that can impact water quality, shoreline stability and marine life.

In 1986 the New York State legislature authorized the formation of a local unit of government, known as the Saratoga Lake Protection and Improvement District (SLPID). Its purpose: to supervise, manage and control
the body of water known as Saratoga Lake by enhancing and preserving the Lake’s ecosystems and watershed through education and proven lake management techniques.

SLPID activities are funded by an ad-veloram tax. Shoreline and nearshore residents of the District contribute in excess of $60,000 a year for weed harvesting, clean-up, maintenance, water quality testing, safety
initiatives and education activities. Additionally, shoreline residents expend considerable efforts to clean
beaches of debris.

You can help safeguard the quality of this fragile environment and make Saratoga Lake a safer recreational area by adhering to the following guidelines.


Like lawn fertilizers and manure, human waste contains nutrients that contribute to algal blooms and oxygen depletion. Human waste also contains disease-carrying bacteria, which can transmit diseases to swimmers. Saratoga Lake is serviced with pumpout facilities for larger boats equipped with marine sanitation devices. This service is available at Point Breeze Marina for a nominal fee. Please refrain from discharging them into Saratoga Lake. Additionally, “Port-O-John” chemical toilets are available at the State Boat Launch for your convenience.

Engine Maintenance

A well-tuned engine will use fuel more efficiently and reduce consumption while discharging fewer pollutants into the waterway. Use of premium two-cycle, “N.M.M.A. – Certified” oil is recommended as it helps prevent carbon deposit formation and burns ash-free. Premium oils also tend to contain more detergents and burn more cleanly. Clean burning is especially important for an engine that runs only intermittently. The alcohol content of unleaded fuels has a tendency to deteriorate older fuel line hoses, sometimes in a matter of months. For this reason hoses should be checked periodically throughout the season for signs of deterioration, i.e., dry and cracked or soft and mushy spots, and replaced with Coast Guard approved alcohol-resistant fuel lines. Keep your use of engine cleaners to a minimum. Their chemical ingredients are often highly toxic. Steam cleaning, if available, may be a better alternative. When changing your oil, wipe up spills immediately and be careful to catch all old oil in a container for onshore recycling. Most marinas on Saratoga Lake have oil-recycling drums and will accept your used oil without charge. Consider placing a bilge “pillow” (an oil-absorbing sponge available at most marinas) in your bilge to remove oil from your bilge water. That way the oil will not be pumped overboard by your bilge pump. One pillow is generally effective for the entire boating season and can be disposed of properly onshore. Be wary of bilge cleaners, which merely disperse the oil in the bilge water. Drain old antifreeze into a container for onshore disposal. Where possible, use less toxic propylene glycol mixtures rather than ethylene glycol antifreeze.

Anti-Fouling Paints

There is little doubt that keeping your boat’s hull clean and free of growth is important. Better boat speed and lower fuel costs are two major advantages of doing so. There are other considerations however. Anti-fouling paints work by releasing toxic chemicals from the hull into the surrounding water. In general the more effective the paint, the more toxic its ingredients. Copper-based paints, used for decades, have proven adequate to keep a hull clean for a year or more, and they contain fewer toxic metallic compounds. Newer, more toxic, organotin anti-fouling paints were restricted by national legislation in 1988. Organotin paints include the familiar tributyltin (TBT)-based anti-fouling paints. Federal law now prohibits the use of any TBT paints on boats under 25 meters long. Please consult your marine painting professional to determine the most environmentally friendly alternative.


Handle all gasoline and petroleum products with extreme care – avoid overfilling. Ask the attendant to wipe up spills prior to flushing with water. Keep your boat and motor in good repair.


Please make every effort to secure trash, bottles, styrofoam bait containers and paper products onboard your vessel; even with proper precautions, items may still be blown overboard.  If something accidentally blows overboard, go back and pick it up. Use it as man overboard practice!   Please help keep Saratoga Lake clean by retrieving any floating trash items observed.  Take all garbage home with you including beverage containers and “biodegradable” food waste.  When guests come aboard your boat, let them know of your commitment to clean water and that you have a boat policy not to throw trash overboard.


Speed in the channel near the Route 9P bridge is limited to 5 MPH (NO WAKE) for 1,200 feet on either side of the bridge as delineated by the channel buoys, and is strictly enforced. Navigation Law limits the speed on Saratoga Lake to 45 MPH during the day and 25 MPH at night. The law further limits speed to 5 MPH (NO WAKE) within 200 feet of shore, the end of a pier or dock as well as other vessels. In that the channel between Staffords Bridge and the dam is less than 400 feet wide, speed is limited to 5 MPH (NO WAKE). This situation also exists in other parts of Fish Creek. If you are within 200 feet of a shore, speed is limited. Boating densities and conditions vary greatly on Saratoga Lake, so please decrease your speed accordingly. All speed limits are actively enforced. Boats that exceed the 75decibel noise limit (SAEJ 1970) are not welcome on Saratoga Lake – the District will make official complaints to law enforcement agencies.


The U.S. Coast Guard estimates alcohol to be a factor in nearly half of all accidents...


Drowning remains the principal cause of boating fatalities. Surprisingly, most drownings
occur within 100 feet of shore and victims frequently had access to life jackets but
weren’t wearing them!


Hunters are reminded that it is illegal to discharge a weapon within 500 feet of an occupied dwelling (Section 1109.31). This applies to fishing with bow and arrow as well as the discharge of shotguns or rifles.

All ice shanties and duck blinds must have the owner’s full name and address permanently affixed in characters at least 3 inches tall in a contrasting color to the surrounding structure. All ice shanties and duck blinds must be removed from the lake by March 15th. Owners are subject to fines under NYS Navigation Law for failure to affix identification, or to remove shanties or blinds from the water by the prescribed date.


Stirring bottom sediments in shallow areas re-circulates chemical compounds, making more nutrients available to spur weed growth. Please operate at idle speed only when in water depths less than 4 feet. Maintain at least a 200-foot separation from other craft or objects.
This is part of the Navigation Law. Do not monopolize any particular area of the lake for extended periods. Please do not chase the waterfowl.


Slow the Spread of Zebra Mussels and Other Exotics

These waters contain zebra mussels, Eurasian water milfoil and water chestnuts. When leaving, drain ALL bilge water, live wells, bait buckets and other water from your boat and equipment. Do not transport baitfish from this lake to another lake. Release them or give them to another angler. At the ramp, thoroughly inspect your boat’s hull, drive unit, trim plates, transducers, anchor ropes and trailer – remove all water weeds and scrape off any suspected mussels. Wash your boat using high-pressure hot water (like at a car wash)
to “demussel” your boat. Allow your boat and trailer to thoroughly dry in the sun for at least two to four days before launching into uninfested waters.


We hope you enjoy your visit to Saratoga Lake and thank you for your cooperation.