As Memorial Day weekend kicks off, Huntington officials and members of the Greater Huntington Council of Yachting and Boating Clubs reminded residents Thursday of the need for boating safety.
May, June, and July are the busiest months for boaters, and with an increase in demand for boats since the pandemic began last year, it is important now more than ever to be a cautious owner, they said at a press conference.
The organizer of Huntington Safe Boating Week, Jackie Martin, urges residents to partake in the many safety courses offered by the boating council to educate boat owners about first aid and CPR.
“It’s very important to be aware, most of these boats are motorized vehicles so they are no different than driving a car,” Martin said, “You need to know what direction to proceed in, who has the right of way, and what to do if there’s an accident or an emergency.”
The clubs also cover the tuition for participants who are interested in taking the New York State Safe Boating Course.
Huntington’s Harbormaster office averaged one rescue a day early last season of boaters and kayakers. Fred Uvena, senior harbormaster, and interim director recommended that residents borrow life jackets from the office in Halesite if they are in need.
“When you come on someone’s boat, don’t be afraid to ask the captain of the boat if they have a lifejacket for you,” Uvena said.
Although Uvena understood that boat owners use their vessels to relax, he made the point for boaters to be cautious about getting a Boating While Intoxicated (BWI) charge while operating the vehicle.
“The sun, the wind, the rocking of the boats, it all adds to it,” Uvena said. “We get it, people work hard, they want a release so they go out on their boat, but be prepared, we will be there to stop you and go through your boat.”
Events and safety courses will run until June 6.