Boat Safely During the Eclipse

Boat Safely During the Eclipse

With the Total Solar Eclipse just days away, the Chautauqua Lake Association would like to remind anyone planning to witness this event from their motorized or non-motorized watercraft to “Boat Safely!”

The eclipse will begin over Chautauqua Lake shortly after 2 p.m. on Monday, April 8, 2024. The transition to full totality will begin at 3:18 p.m. and will last approximately 4 minutes. 

During that time, daylight will transform into an ethereal twilight. Diligence on the water will be critical to avoid potential hazards during this event. 

If you are planning to enjoy this once-in-our-lifetime experience from your boat on Chautauqua Lake, follow these tips to ensure a safe viewing experience: 

Be vigilant. Emergency Services Director Noel Guttman notes, “During those few minutes of darkness, it’s crucial for boaters to be vigilant. Many boaters might not be accustomed to navigating in the dark, so proper lighting and caution are essential.” 

Be prepared. Make sure you have navigational lights or flashlights on your watercraft and turn them on prior to totality. 

Each person on the watercraft should also wear a life jacket. “Proper life vests are essential for every person on board,” Guttman emphasizes. “These life-saving devices can significantly increase chances of survival in the event of an emergency.”

Boats should be equipped with functioning radios and you should always let someone know that you are going to be out on the water. This will help ensure prompt assistance in the event of an emergency. 

It’s also important to note that water temperatures this time of year may be as low as 40 degrees and cold water exposure can be life threatening.

Chautauqua County Emergency Services, the Sheriff’s Office and local fire departments are working together on a proactive plan to ensure an effective response to emergencies that may occur during this event.

Protect your Eyes. Use certified eclipse glasses to protect your eyesight during the eclipse. Sunglasses will NOT protect your eyes. A pinhole projector is another safe way to view a solar eclipse. 

Be Patient. Traffic volume is expected to be very high on the day of the eclipse. Local officials recommend you plan to come early and stay late. 

Know before you go. There are a number of boat launches and marinas on Chautauqua Lake. Be sure your intended launch is open to the public for the eclipse event.  

For a list of boat launches and eclipse activities on and around Chautauqua Lake, visit:

It will be another 400 years until Chautauqua Lake will experience another total solar eclipse, so let’s take our time and enjoy the show! 

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