Law and Safety Enforcement

The Marine Patrol of the Livingston County Sheriff’s Department provides law enforcement patrols on Conesus Lake from substations located at Vitale Park and Long Point Park.

The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 04-09 provides non-law enforcement safety patrols on Conesus Lake, in addition to vessel safety checks and public education programs.

Speed Limits for All Watercraft

  • 45mph daytime speed limit
  • 25mph nighttime speed limit
  • 5mph/”no wake” speed limit between speed buoys and shoreline

Operator Restrictions

  • Under 10 years of age: May only operate a motorboat with a person age 18 or older on board
  • 10 to 18 years of age: May only operate a motorboat with a person age 18 or older on board, or while holding a safety certificate
  • 18 years of age or older: May operate a motorboat alone, except for Personal Water Craft (PWCs), which require a boating safety certificate for all operators

Personal Water Craft (PWC) – Specific Laws

  • Effective January 1, 2004, all PWC operators, regardless of age, must possess a boating safety certificate and have this certificate in their possession whenever operating a PWC
  • The fine for operating a PWC without a boating safety certificate is $100. This law is strictly enforced by the Livingston County Sheriff’s Department Marine Patrol on Conesus Lake
  • PWCs must stay 500 feet away from designated swimming areas
  • The only legal hours of operation for PWCs are between sunrise and sunset

Boating Best Practices

  • No boat with an operational sink or marine toilet may be operated on the waters of Conesus Lake
  • Do not create any wake inside the speed buoys that ring Conesus Lake. All areas between these buoys and the shoreline, a distance of approximately 200 feet, are “no-wake zones”
  • Keep your speed in the middle of the lake – away from swimmers, divers/snorkelers and slower boats/PWCs
  • Observe all marine laws, especially those regarding the operation of PWCs, children under the age of 12 wearing PFDs, speed limits, and boat/PWC load limits
  • Pay attention when you drive your boat/PWC. Operator inattention is the leading cause of boating accidents and deaths in New York State


Long considered the “jewel” of New York State’s Livingston County, Conesus Lake is located approximately 25 miles south of Rochester and parallels Interstate 390 as it runs from Lake Ontario south toward the Pennsylvania border.

Conesus Lake is the most westward of New York’s Finger Lakes chain. These 11 “major and minor” lakes were formed over 10,000 years ago when the last glaciers receded and northward-flowing rivers became blocked with massive glacial debris. Heading from east to west, these lakes* are Otisco, Skaneateles, Owasco, Cayuga, Seneca, Keuka, Canandaigua, Honeoye, Canadice, Hemlock, and Conesus. They resemble slim fingers fanning out in a north/south orientation across Central and Western New York.

The shoreline of Conesus Lake includes portions of the towns of Conesus, Geneseo, Groveland, and Livonia. Despite its modest size, Conesus is one of the most heavily populated Finger Lakes, largely due to the fact that the entire lake is served by public sewers and water, electricity, natural gas, and cable television access, and is within a short drive of New York’s third-largest city (Rochester). Although seasonal cottages still make up a noteworthy percentage of the lake’s dwellings, approximately 65% of the lake’s residents now live here throughout the year.

Winter recreation on Conesus Lake

Conesus Lake also serves as the public water supply for the villages of Avon and Geneseo, providing drinking water to approximately 15,000 people (22% of the total population of Livingston County).

For residents and visitors alike, Conesus Lake is renowned as a year-round sporting and water-based recreation destination. Fishing, power boating, sailing, canoeing/kayaking, swimming, and cycling (around the lake) are enjoyed in the warmer months; waterfowl hunting in the autumn; and ice fishing, ice skating, and snowmobiling when the lake is frozen. It is only in the rarest of winters when the lake fails to freeze from one end to the other.

Conesus Lake, New York – The Figures

Latitude/Longitude: 42°47’N; 77°43’W
Elevation: 818 feet (249 m) above sea level
Length: 8 miles (12.9 km)
Maximum Width: 1 mile (1.6 km)
Maximum Depth: 66 feet (20m) – 90%+ less than 45 feet (13.7m) deep
Area: 5.3 square miles (13.7 km2)
Shoreline: 18.4 miles (29.6 km)

* The “minor” Finger Lakes, as defined by the U.S. Geological Survey, are shown in italics.