Town Announces Increase in B.W.I. Patrols Ahead of Memorial Day Weekend; Offers Potentially Life-Saving Boater Safety Tips

In recognition of National Boat Safety Week (May 21-27), Supervisor Anthony J. Santino, Councilman Anthony D’Esposito and Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney today announced that Hempstead Town will be boosting B.W.I patrols and increasing awareness of the dangers of boating while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Supervisor Santino, Councilman D’Esposito and Councilwoman King Sweeney unveiled the public safety initiative during a press event at Point Lookout’s West Marina, and were joined by members of the town’s Bay Constables.

“While we encourage local boaters to spend Memorial Day Weekend, the 4th of July and the entire summer season sailing the town’s beautiful waterways, one of the Town of Hempstead’s top priorities is to protect neighbors from the dangers of B.W.I.,” stated Supervisor Santino. “The town’s Bay Constables will be out in force this summer, and intoxicated boaters will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

According to the United States Coast Guard Boating Safety Division, consuming alcohol on the water can often be more deadly than on land. Alcohol is the leading known cause in fatal boating accidents, accounting for 21 percent of deaths. In 2014, over 4,000 boating accidents involved 610 deaths in the United States, according to the United States Coast Guard. The motion of the boat, vibration of the engine and elements such as sun and wind can accelerate the impairment of a boat operator, and have a greater impact on the operator’s ability to control his/her vessel.

The town’s Bay Constables are highly trained officers that patrol the township’s waterways, enforcing navigation, conservation and marine safety laws and ordinances. The Bay Constables proactively seek out boaters who are operating under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, and will be on especially high alert during the Memorial Day Weekend.

“The Town of Hempstead is committed to keeping boaters safe on town waterways,” added Councilman D’Esposito. Added Councilwoman King Sweeney, “I am proud to partner with Supervisor Santino and Councilman D’Esposito to ensure smooth sailing this summer for town residents.”

Even when alcohol is not involved, boating can still be dangerous if safety is not made a top priority. Supervisor Santino, Councilman D’Esposito and Councilwoman King Sweeney also offered up some important boater safety tips, which include: familiarizing yourself with local boating laws and regulations, wearing a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket, having a radio on board, making a “float plan” to let another person know where you will be sailing and for how long. Town officials also urge residents to take boater safety classes. The Bay Constables offer safe boating courses for young adults and adults.

“If you operate a boat under the influence of alcohol, you will be caught and you will be arrested,” concluded Santino. “By following the law, making safety a priority and using a common-sense approach to boating, we can all enjoy a safe and enjoyable summer on Town of Hempstead waterways.”