Several boaters disrupted the Huntington Lighthouse Musicfest this weekend, organizers say, by tying up together and blasting loud music that at times drowned out the program’s scheduled entertainment.
Pam Setchell, president of the Huntington Lighthouse Preservation Society, and others said more than 20 boaters complained about the noise, with some leaving the waters. Several boaters were “Furious! Some left and some moved their boats. But some were in a position where they had to stay and were disrupted for the entire day. It was a shame,” she said.
“This is the equivalent to going to a concert of any kind and having a cluster of 20 people in the audience that all of the sudden start to play their own music to drown out the sound of the concert and be disrespectful to others around them,” Setchell said. “What would happen? They would haul you out of the concert. If they wanted their own party with their own music, why wouldn’t they move somewhere in unoccupied waters? It was a flagrant act in my opinion.”
Because of jurisdictional issues, town bay constables were unable to resolve the problem because although the lighthouse is in town waters, the moored boats were in the Village of Lloyd Harbor waters. The Town of Huntington said that its constables asked one of the boaters to turn the sound down to avoid interfering with the musicfest, but he refused, and so the town had no authority to enforce it.
“Our director of Maritime Services, Ed Carr, spoke with the organizers of the lighthouse event and suggested a work-around for next year that would involve the lighthouse group getting an aquatic event permit from the Village,” the town said. “This would enable the Village to enforce a disruptive boater who is competing with an officially sanctioned event. Unfortunately, without an event permit, the Village had no legal means to order the boater to turn down the radio since the radio broadcast did not exceed the decibel level in the Village’s noise ordinance. In the absence of an event permit, the boater had just as much right to broadcast their competing music with the lighthouse.”
“The Huntington Lighthouse Preservation Society is stunned, angered and saddened by the cavalier indifference of the people who caused this flagrant disruption. It was mean spirited. Volunteers work for months and boaters travel from all over to enjoy this unique concert and make it the close of season event for their family and friends. We take this as a personal affront.”
“People come from all over, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Westchester County,” for the musicfest, Setchell said.
The lighthouse is on the National Historic Register and has hosted the musicfest for 11 years.