Sandbags palletized and ready to go, and docks disappearing. We are reaching a breaking point along Lake Ontario, with water level just inches away from the 2017 peak that led to widespread flooding. So far, homes along the shoreline have been spared, but some docks have not. And that means decision time for boaters.

Boaters in Charlotte near Lake Ontario Beach Park are still prepping for the season, but keeping their eyes on the inch by inch advancing of the water. 

“We wait all winter long for this, and now the lake levels are rising and it’s slowing everybody down,” says Rob Sheppard. 

Brian Ferrera says he’s concerned about what he calls “riding the docks”. He adds, “Our docks are underwater, so the fenders don’t work, there’s no way to keep it off the dock. I mean, we tie it off properly, but…”

Mark Lawless says, “(We’re) just trying to get the boaters out there. Their docks are all flooded, so nobody’s putting their boats in the water.”

Boat owners who have their vessels here say the water levels are about a foot higher than what they should be this time of year. Of course, the flooding from 2017 is still fresh in boater’s minds. 

“I mean, they’re still expecting it to come up some more, but it’ll likely be pretty close to 2017,” says Lawless. 

Mark’s son, John, says he’s heard of boaters already calling it quits. “A lot of people are scrapping their seasons and saying ‘we don’t want to do this.'”

But Ferrera says his problems are small compared to others facing rising water. He’s concerned about recreation, while others have to worry about much more. “I’m not a waterfront homeowner, so my problems are minor,” he says.