Issued by: Town of Hempstead, Office of Supervisor Laura Gillen
(Lido Beach, NY) Town of Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen, Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney, Councilman Bruce Blakeman and Town Clerk Sylvia Cabana joined Town of Hempstead Bay Constables to officially launch and christen a newly acquired, high-tech U.S. Coast Guard response boat ahead of the busy July 4th holiday week. The Town also announced additional enforcement and patrols throughout the entire week in response to increased holiday boat traffic.
The response boat, ‘Hempstead Constable 2,’ fills a critical gap in the Town’s emergency response, by allowing Bay Constables to quickly and safely navigate through the back bays in shallower than normal waters. The newly acquired response boat can safely navigate in waters as little as two and a half feet with its engines still running, whereas the Town’s other boats require turning off the engines and manually paddling, or using poles, to navigate through shallow water.
The extended Independence Day weekend kicks off the busiest time of the year for boating in the traditionally nautical, South Shore communities of Hempstead on Long Island.
“Every year, our Constables respond to hundreds of distress calls, and anywhere from 50 to 60 those every year are from boats that run aground,” said Town of Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen. “Every second counts when you’re responding to emergencies, especially on the water. This boat is extremely versatile and will be a valuable asset in responding to distress calls in both the back bays and the ocean.”
“Summer boating is here in Hempstead Town and just in time for the busiest boating time of the year, the July 4th holiday week, it is comforting to know that our Bay Constables will be able to increase safety checks on our waterways with the acquisition of a new response boat,” said Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney.
"Boating is a way of life for many communities in the Town of Hempstead," said Councilman Anthony D'Esposito. "I am proud to welcome a new response boat to our fleet while continuing our long standing commitment to residents to provide outstanding services while being fiscally responsible."
The Town will be stepping up patrols during the busy Holiday weekend and will be out in force to make sure everyone is safe by enforcing speeding limits, especially in ‘no wake zones,’ and responding to suspicions of BWI, or Boating While Intoxicated. Drugs and alcohol are the leading known contributing factors in fatal boating accidents.
“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 our waterways, “said Gillen.
“Everyone on the water should adhere to proper safety procedures by wearing a certified lifejacket, having a functioning radio aboard their boats, and developing a ‘float plan,’ so that someone on shore knows where and how long you are expected to be out on the water,” said Town Clerk Sylvia Cabana. “We want this weekend to be both fun-filled and safe.”
The Coast Guard rescue response boat normally retails for approximately $260,000, not including the equipment in it such as radar, sonar, navigation and lights, which place the value of the boat at approximately $300,000. The Town was able to acquire in nearly mint condition, with only approximately 1,000 hours on it through the GSA Federal Surplus Program.
“This is a product of the United States government military surplus program in support of law-enforcement,” said Councilman Bruce Blakeman. “This is a very important program that gives needed tools to our local law enforcement at virtually no cost. I want to complement the supervisor, and the members of the town board who joined me in voting for this.”
“With over 110,000 registered boaters in the Long Island area, we take boating safety very seriously,” said Supervisor Laura Gillen. “The Town was luckily able to take advantage of a government surplus program, which allowed the Town to purchase it for a fraction of its worth.”