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Polar plunge’s popularity prompts proposed regulations

Swimmers in the 2011 Lake George New Years Day Polar plunge charge into the water for a frigid dip. The popularity of the event in the last two years has prompted the board to propose new laws regulating such events.

Swimmers in the 2011 Lake George New Years Day Polar plunge charge into the water for a frigid dip. The popularity of the event in the last two years has prompted the board to propose new laws regulating such events.

— After village officials witnessed the mass of swimmers charging simultaneously into the waters of Lake George for the local New Year's Day Polar plunge, they are now seeking a way to boost safety while limiting potential liability from a drowning incident.

The village trustees decided Monday Jan. 9 to draft a law limiting the number of people plunging into the water simultaneously to 500 in mass swimming events. Blais said that the idea was prompted by safety and liability concerns raised by the large crowds cramming Shepard Park Beach for the Jan. 1 Polar Plunge event, at which 2,000 swimmers charged into Lake George, with about 700 registered swimmers — and many others not recorded — plunging in three consecutive waves.

It was also decided that the plunge should start at noon rather than at 2 p.m. to reduce alcohol consumption by revelers at the event. The board also voiced support for requiring the Polar Plunge event sponsors, the Lake George Winter Carnival Committee, to obtain $3 million in event liability insurance rather than the current $1 million policy.

Also, the village trustees decided to advertise for bids for new public docks to be constructed — 90 feet by 5 feet docks of aluminum, sturdier than the public docks that have been damaged by winter ice and recent storms. The bids are to be advertised this next week and be awarded at the board’s February meeting. The number of docks to be installed depend on the prices bid, Blais said. He announced that the village’s request for a state grant to fund new public docks was not accepted.

In other business, the Lake George Village Board:

• Passed a resolution in a 3-2 split vote to boost fees at Beach Road parking lot from $1 to $2 per hour — councilmen Joe Mastrodomenico and Ray Perry voted No, citing the charge was too steep.

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