Charter boat captains booked for solar eclipse; big increase in boat traffic expected

Most area fishing charter boats booked for day of eclipse

Most area fishing charter boats booked for day of eclipse

In one month, the Rochester region will be in the direct path of a total solar eclipse.  As many as 500,000 people are expected to flood into our region for a front-row seat, and some of them don’t plan to sit on dry land.

Most of the fishing charter boat captains in the area are already booked for April 8, and they have been for months.  Their clients are looking to get out on the water, away from any artificial light, to take in the full eclipse as pure as possible. 

Captain Kip Mammano of Rochester Sport Fishing didn’t even realize the significance of the date when people started calling looking to book a charter. “We booked the day of the eclipse, last September I believe, we had some people call, and they didn’t show any interest in fishing at all, they just wanted to go out and experience the eclipse,” Mammano tells News10NBC.

It’s not only Mammano’s client who had the idea,

“I thought it was pretty odd but now that it’s getting closer to that date, I guess it’s pretty important,” he says. “My business partner Brandon, he had a call as well to book his boat. There are a select number of captains that will be in the water as it is just starting the season but yes, we’ll be out there for sure.”

First responders who cover Lake Ontario say they’re expecting a big increase in boat traffic for the eclipse.

“November of last year, we started planning for this,” says Monroe County Sheriff’s Lt. Matthew Mackenzie, who leads the marine unit. 

It’s not the charter boats they’re worried about. “Our concern is the novice, the weekend boater,” Lt. Mackenzie says, “the boater who doesn’t normally launch their boat this early, hasn’t prepared in advance and they don’t have the attire to go out there and the exposure to the elements.”

Even if it’s sunny and 60 degrees out on land, it’s much cooler and often more rough, the further you get from shore and if something goes wrong. “It is very early in the season, with water temperatures at 39 degrees, the average survivability is about an hour,” explains Sr. Chief Matthew Rosenberg of the U.S. Coast Guard. 

That’s why the Coast Guard, the Sheriff’s Department and a number of local fire departments who cover parts of Lake Ontario will have a very visible presence on April 8th, “we’re going to have a multitude of boats out there, we’ll be covering east, west, south… anywhere you can think of.  We have some assets also on standby here locally, EMS, air support, some larger vessels hopefully on scene,” says Sr. Chief Rosenberg. 

They’re trying to ensure those who want a unique experience, totality in the middle of a great lake, stay safe. “It’s like a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience something like that, so it could be awesome,” says Captain Mammano.

Most of the local captains News10NBC reached by phone this week are already booked for April 8 or won’t have their boats in that early but Captain Mammano says he has some colleagues who may still have some space: