Huntington Officials Emphasize Safety on the Water

Huntington officials, law enforcement and boating experts reminded residents on Wednesday about ways to keep safe while using Huntington’s many waterways.

Town Supervisor Ed Smyth, noting that Safe Boating Week is about to begin, reiterated the need for anyone using the waters to follow safety rules, from wearing properly fitting life jackets to maintaining sobriety when operating vessels to awareness of weather and water conditions.

Senior Harbormaster Fred Uvena and Smyth both said that the town’s waterways have become more crowded in recent years, and that caution needed to be exercised at all times as a variety of vessels and swimmers frequently share the same spaces.

“This year we expect a high volume of boaters and kayakers on the waterways. The harbormaster’s office has seen a significant uptick in use and activity on the waters each and every year since the (Covid-19) pandemic. People are getting outside and being more active, and that’s true on the waterway as well.”

Uvena, who Smyth jokingly referred to as “The First Lord of the Admiralty”  said it was members of the clubs that make up the boating council who help keep boaters safe.  “It’s always good to know that you have neighbors who are ready to respond.”

He advised boat users to check the capacity limits of vessels, “very important, overloading,” he said, noting that limits included not only people but the gear added to a boat. He also emphasized the need to ensure that life jackets were available for children, noting that an adult-sized jacket would slide off a child thrown into the water.

Smyth said that a boating certification class scheduled this week was filled, but the town is working on arranging for more classes.

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