The Office of State Parks, Department of Environmental Conservation, and New York State Police are already conducting shark monitoring operations at state beaches, and resources for local governments will expand on these efforts.
As part of the State’s ongoing efforts to address and improve beachgoers’ safety at State beaches, Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the deployment of additional shark-monitoring drones to local beach communities in Long Island and additional York City. In response to shark sightings over the Fourth of July holiday, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation and the Department of Environmental Conservation have increased surveillance over the waters, according to new shark safety protocols established this year, according to Governor Hochul.
Governor Hochul stated, “New York has some of the most stunning beaches in the nation, and I have asked State employees to do everything possible to ensure beachgoers safe this summer. “We created new tools and techniques to monitor marine species and safeguard New Yorkers’ health and safety before the busy summer season. These new drones will enable local governments in Long Island and New York City to better monitor shark activity, ensuring that all beachgoers may enjoy the area’s beaches safely.
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) will distribute the new drones to all municipalities in the downstate area. Additionally, it offers money to pay for the expense of teaching local staff how to use the drones. This initiative will help communities and agencies throughout the entire Long Island coastline and in New York City improve their shark monitoring efforts because the majority of those municipalities lack drone surveillance capabilities.
This spring, State Parks convened a pre-season meeting with coastal municipalities and local organizations to discuss coordinated beachfront alerts and to present the most recent data on shark activity in New York State. Additionally, last week saw the publication of the Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) Guidance to Reduce the Risk of Negative Interactions with Sharks.
Swimming is suspended and all swimmers are escorted out of the water when shark sightings and/or contacts with swimmers occur at State Park beaches. After the last sighting has occurred for at least an hour, swimming is permitted again. Shark activity is constantly monitored and patrolled for by State Park lifeguards, Park Police, and park officials.
Also informed so they can respond appropriately in their various jurisdictions is the Long Island Coastal Awareness Group, which is made up of more than 200 people from towns, organizations, and private beach operators extending from Queens through Long Island.
New York State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, “State Park lifeguards, Park Police and park staff are on high alert at our Long Island beaches to keep visitors safe. We will continue using all of the tools at our disposal to be on the lookout for sharks and other dangerous marine life.”
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “New York’s shores are home to a wild and natural marine ecosystem that supports the annual migration of sharks to our coastal waters. While human-shark interactions are rare, DEC encourages the public to follow shark safety guidance to help minimize the risk of negative interactions with sharks this summer.”
New York State Police Acting Superintendent Steven Nigrelli said, “In the event of a sighting or emergency such as the type of incidents that occurred over the 4th of July weekend, NYSP Aviation is ready to provide rapid response and support as needed. Like our State Parks and law enforcement partners, the safety of all New Yorkers is our first priority, and we stand ready to assist them to ensure that beachgoers remain safe.”
Every time a person enters a natural area, whether on land or in the sea, they are taking a risk. Ocean users can alter their behavior to avoid potential confrontations with sharks and lower overall risk, even though risk cannot be completely eliminated. Follow DEC’s shark safety recommendations when in the ocean to reduce the possibility of unfavorable encounters with sharks.