Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter and Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart conducted a joint press conference today, reminding boaters and motorists of the hazards of boating and driving while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, as we head into the Memorial Day Holiday weekend.

Suffolk County Marine Bureau and Islip Harbor Patrol will be patrolling the Great South Bay, enforcing safety procedures, such as checking for adequate life vests onboard and cracking down on boating while intoxicated (BWI).

“Enjoying nearly 50 miles of coastline in the Town of Islip includes a responsibility to keep yourself and others out of harm’s way,” said Supervisor Angie Carpenter. “Islip’s Harbor Patrol will be enforcing BWI laws and conducting safety checks, but ultimately it is up to the boaters to avert tragedy on the water,” she added. 

“Our officers will be patrolling the roadways and waterways and will take a zero-tolerance approach to drivers and boat operators under the influence of drugs or alcohol,” Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart said. “I implore all drivers and boat operators to come up with a plan before drinking and getting behind the wheel. Nothing will ruin a good time more than being arrested or worse—hurting an innocent person.”

“Don’t let a fun day on the water turn into a tragedy,” Suffolk County Police Chief of Department Stuart Cameron said. “Ensure that every passenger has a personal floatation device on board the vessel and that they know how to access them.  Our Marine Bureau officers were involved in 285 search and rescue missions during 2018—don’t become a statistic for 2019.”

“The message to boaters and everyone who will be operating watersports vehicles is do not make us a part of your holiday weekend. Our officers will be out in force to ensure the safety of all our residents. If you operate a watercraft while under the influence of drugs and or alcohol, you will be arrested. Be smart and do all you can to keep you and your loved ones safe,” said Town of Islip Commissioner of Public Safety Anthony D’Amico.

Boaters are advised to equip their vessels with the proper safety items. This includes life vests for everyone on board, a fire extinguisher, visual distress signals, sound producing devices and to choose a properly-trained adult as a ‘designated driver’ for the vessel.

Islip Town Councilmen James O’Connor and John Cochrane, Jr. a former Navy Captain, were on hand for the event, along with Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Commissioner, Tom Owens.