ROXBURY, NJ – More than 700 owners of docks and boathouses on Lake Hopatcong have purchased blue number signs designed to help during water emergencies. The Lake Hopatcong Foundation is urging more to do the same.

The signs, introduced in 2016, are part of a program called the Blue Signs Are For Emergencies (B-SAFE) Dock Numbering Program. Their numbers “are linked to each lakefront property’s 911 street address and are designed to help emergency personnel efficiently respond to calls by land or water,” said the non-profit organization today. 

The Foundation said its goal in selling the 8-inch-by-16-inch signs is to “improve emergency response times and safety on Lake Hopatcong.” It noted the signs do not reveal any personal information.

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“In moments of emergency on the water, it can be very difficult to explain to first responders where exactly you are located,” said Lake Hopatcong Foundation Grants and Programs Director Donna Macalle-Holly. “This program helps make that easier for those who are in distress and provides clarity to emergency personnel.”

The signs can be installed on a dock or boathouse, anywhere they can be easily seen from the water. “If an emergency occurs, an accurate location can be reported using the nearest dock number as a reference point,” the Foundation explained.

Currently, about 37 percent of Lake Hopatcong’s lakefront homeowners have installed the signs, it said.

"The municipalities previously provided the data with the lakefront street addresses with the lot/block number," said Macalle-Holly. "Two volunteers from the Hopatcong and Jefferson fire departments used the data provided by the municipalities and they walked the around all the lakefront neighborhoods and assigned a dock number to each property."

She said the foundation maintains the spreadsheets with the dock numbers and periodically sends them to the first responders. 

“We are so thankful for the outstanding efforts of our dock numbering volunteer team, which included several first responders, who put a lot of work into this initiative in 2015 and 2016 and are now able to see how much it has grown on Lake Hopatcong,” said Lake Hopatcong Foundation President Jessica Murphy.

The B-SAFE dock number signs can be purchased online through the Lake Hopatcong Foundation.  Signs ordered by June 15 will be delivered in mid-July. 

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