May 18th, 2023 – Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter and members of the Islip Town Board were joined by state, county and local officials at the Town’s Boater Safety Press Conference at the Bay Shore Marina.
The annual event held before the extended Memorial Day holiday weekend, is designed to underscore and emphasize the importance of safe boating and swimming practices as residents begin to prepare their boats, pools and personal water craft for a summer of recreation on the water.
“Overwhelmingly, the majority of accidents are 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,” said Supervisor Angie Carpenter.
In an effort to prevent boating accidents and create an awareness on the water, in 2020 New York State passed Brianna’s Law, requiring all operators of a motorized watercraft to complete a state-approved boating safety course by the year 2025. Residents can fulfill the New York State requirement for Safe Boater Certification at the Town of Islip Boater Safety Course. Spaces are still available for the Town’s final session to be held Saturday, June 10th. The certification is lifelong. To register, or for more information visit www.islipny.gov or call the Town of Islip Office of Cultural Affairs at 631-224-5430.
Officials urged boaters to follow local and state safety regulations including the use of lifejackets, and creating a “Float Plan”…informing family or friends on land of your intended plans before setting out on the water. It has been reported that 50% of all boating deaths in New York State could have been avoided if the victim had only been wearing a lifejacket. Under NYS Law, all boats are required to have enough lifejackets for every person onboard.
“Far too often we receive search and rescue calls for a missing boater and the crucial piece of information we lack is the general area that boater was in. Having the location of your loved one who is out on the water can make the difference between life and death,” said U.S. Coast Guard Sr. Chief Boatswainsmate Dan Philips.
Last year, Town of Islip Harbormasters responded to a total of 9 search and rescue missions, so far in 2023, they have already responded to three. In 2022, Town of Islip harbormasters answered 386 calls for service; inspected 151 boats in routine safety regulation checks with 34 boats issued safety violations; and 15 boats were impounded by the Town’s Public Safety officials.
“The safety of our residents is our top priority. If you own or operate a boat, understand you have a responsibility, and indeed, are required to follow basic safety guidelines to keep you and your passengers safe,” stated Supervisor Carpenter.
Chip Gorman, Regional Director, NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, highlighted the new measures implemented to ensure safety at ocean beaches after an unprecedented number of shark bites last year. State funding has allotted for the purchase of 10 additional drones, raising to 18 the total number available to state park police. One of the newly purchased drones features thermal imaging, laser range finding and high-quality cameras for nighttime surveillance and for use in adverse weather conditions.
Officials also shared additional safety tips to minimize risk of a shark encounter including:
- Stay out of the ocean at dusk, night or dawn
- Avoid areas with schools of splashing fish or diving seabirds
- Avoid murky water
- Swim, paddle, or surf in groups
- Avoid areas with seals
- Swim where your feet can touch the bottom
- Follow lifeguard instructions
Other safety measures implemented by state officials include the purchase of two new Yamaha WaveRunners assigned to Jones Beach and Robert Moses State Park lifeguards and an increased buffer zone between swimming and surf-fishing areas.
Dan Walsh, Stillwater Senior Chief Lifeguard for the Town of Islip shared important pool safety tips such as:
- Do not leave a child unattended while in the pool area
- Remove all toys from the pool area when not in use
- Learn to swim, as early as age 6 months kids can begin swim lessons
- Enroll in a CPR class or know basic life-saving tools in the event of an emergency
- Create guidelines with your children so they know their boundaries in the pool area
Joining Supervisor Carpenter were Councilmen, John Cochrane, Jorge Guadrón , John Lorenzo; Rodney Harrison, SCPD Commissioner; Chip Gorman, Regional Director, NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation; and Dan Philips, Senior Chief Boatswainsmate, U.S. Coast Guard; as well as Town of Islip Public Safety Commissioner Tony Prudenti and Deputy Commissioner Rich Bastidas; Town of Islip Parks and Recreation Commissioner Tom Owens; Dan Walsh, Stillwater Senior Chief Lifeguard, (Bays and Pools), Town of Islip; and Town of Islip Public Safety Harbormasters and Marina Guards.
A comprehensive guide on Essential Boating, Shark, and Pool Safety Tips is available: Click here