Irondequoit, N.Y. (WHAM) - Effective immediately, the public boat launch at the Irondequoit Bay Marine Park has been closed.
The closure is temporary, and was due to rising water levels on Lake Ontario. Canoes and kayaks will still be allowed to launch from the park, but are not allowed to use the docks or ramp.
Reports Tuesday show the water level on Lake Ontario rose above 248 inches, which is precipitously close to the levels seen in 2017 when severe flooding hit western New York communities along the lakeshore.
The Town of Irondequoit made the decision after consulting with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historical Preservation.
“This is a difficult, yet necessary decision for the Town to make, especially as we head into the boating season,” said Supervisor Dave Seeley. “We thank boaters in advance for their cooperation and will continue to monitor water levels to determine when it is safe to open the launch to the public.”
Additional rain is not the problem; wind direction is where the issue lies.
“We start to look at wind direction, particularly a northerly wind," says 13WHAM Meteorologist Glenn Johnson. "That will pile up the water on the shoreline.”
He says the lake levels are high enough now that one day of strong wind could cause flooding.
“Even the smallest change in wind direction can have a big impact," Johnson said.
One boater, Wes, said he was caught off-guard by the order. His boat was in the water early Wednesday. When he returned to the launch, it was closed.
"You got all these boats that are going to need to get out," he said. "I could see them stopping putting other people in, but right now, everybody’s going to have to get out."
For now, Wes says he only has one option.
"Find another ramp somewhere that’s open," he said. "That’s about all we can do."