May 26th, 2022 – Suffolk County Police Department Marine Bureau officers joined with Town of Islip Supervisor Angie Carpenter and Town of Islip Harbormasters during a press conference on Bay Shore’s Maple Ave. dock this week, to urge boaters to safely share the waterways and remind boat operators of the safety equipment required onboard a vessel while boating.
Supervisor Carpenter was joined by Town Councilman Jorge Guadron; Deputy Inspector and Commanding Officer of the Suffolk County PD Marine Bureau, Kevin Williams; Fire Island Ferries President, Tim Mooney; Dante Grover of Strong’s & Grovers Marina; Town of Islip Commissioner Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs, Tom Owens; Town of Islip Public Safety Commissioner, Anthony Prudenti and members of the Town of Islip Harbor Patrol.
Boating is a celebrated, time-honored tradition on Long Island, and it is not immune to danger, or tragedy.
- From 2012 to 2021, recreational boating deaths have averaged 21 deaths per year.
- New York State reports that in 2021, a total 192 boating accidents were reported, resulting in 118 injuries, and 18 fatalities.
Along with hazardous waters and weather, alcohol use, excessive speed, operator inattention and operator inexperience were among the leading causes of accidents in 2021 according to NYS statistics. Alcohol and drug use slow reaction times, impair decision making, and inhibit the motor skills vital for maintaining control of a vessel. Inattention and inexperience lead to risky decisions and/or operator negligence, and speeding dramatically increases the risk of the deadliest types of boating accidents.
“We have more than 1,200 boat slips in the Town, and our marinas are full. A lot of new boat owners are on the water as we begin what hopefully will be a normal summer. I think we are going to see an increase in boating traffic,” said Islip Public Safety Commissioner, Tony Prudenti.
“The message I have for boaters on the Great South Bay is sharing. Sharing the water, sharing the experience with your friends and family, and then as days turn into night, the risk increases dramatically,” said Tim Mooney, President, Fire Island Ferries. “So if you’re a new boater, or a boater with little experience, boating at night is something you shouldn’t tackle your first year out there,” he added.
Overwhelmingly, 66% of total 2021 accidents were the result of collisions, typically with other recreational boats. In nearly all cases, death or serious injury occurred when individuals were separated from their vessel and were thrown or landed in the water. “One lifejacket per passenger is a requirement on all boats, and all passengers are required to wear a lifejacket. A reported 50% of all boating deaths in New York could have been avoided if the victim had been wearing a lifejacket. It floats. You don’t,” said Supervisor Carpenter.
Town Launches “Boat, Dock and Ride” Program
At the press conference, Supervisor Carpenter announced the launch of Islip’s “Boat, Dock and Ride” program, a new initiative featuring the recently formed Town of Islip Park Ranger Bike Unit. To date, 6 Islip Rangers have successfully completed the Special Response Group Bicycle Crowd Management course trained by the NYPD, and will be on bicycle patrol, widening their presence in Atlantique and neighboring communities during the summer.
Boater Safety Course – June 11th
Islip Town residents can fulfill the New York State requirement for Safe Boater Certification at the Town of Islip Boater Safety Course, held Saturday, June 11th. The certification is required for all watercraft operators 14 years of age or older. All boaters, regardless of age, will be required to have certification by 2025. Completion of the Town’s one-day course provides lifetime certification. Plenty of spaces still remain. Call the Town’s Cultural Affairs Office at (631) 224-5430 for more information.