On July 4, boating speed limits will be reduced and Town of Huntington patrols increased in town waters, officials said.
The move aims to help boaters safely enjoy the annual Asharoken fireworks display and any other possible shows.
This year, both the area covered and the hours the restriction is in effect have been expanded. A 5 MPH speed limit will be in effect from 8:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. in all of Northport Bay and Huntington Bay south from the line extending from Target Rock to Buoy One in Coast Guard Cove, as well as Long Island Sound from the easternmost section of the Northport Power Plant to the westernmost end of the causeway on Asharoken Avenue. A copy of a map showing the affected areas can be viewed on the town’s website.
The town also will step up patrols of the area and is working with the Suffolk County Police Department, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, the Village of Northport harbormaster and police department, the Asharoken police department and the Huntington, Northport and Centerport Fire Departments to coordinate patrols, the establishment of a security zone around the barge shooting the Asharoken fireworks and the emergency response.
As in the past, law enforcement boats will be strategically located throughout the area the help ensure an orderly dispersal.
This is the second year the town has imposed the restrictions on July 4, spurred by a 2012 tragedy in which three children died off Oyster Bay Cove when the boat in which they were watching a fireworks show capsized as it was returning to Huntington. The town has also worked with the Greater Huntington Council of Yacht and Boating Clubs to step up boater safety education and to encourage responsible boating.
“July 4 is traditionally a day when people spend time on their boats, from early in the morning to late at night. We want boaters to enjoy the day in a way that is safe for themselves, their guests and other boats,” Supervisor Frank Petrone said, in a statement. “We hope these measures will help make Huntington’s waters a little safer for everybody.”
“The last thing anybody wants is another tragedy like the one that happened two years ago,” Councilman Mark Cuthbertson said. “That is why the town continues to sponsor programs and work with the boating community to make the public aware of their responsibility to take basic precautions and understand how to act appropriately.”
Councilwoman Susan Berland is working with the Greater Huntington Council of Yacht and Boating Clubs to promote boating safety and to encourage responsible boat operation during events.
“We want boaters to enjoy events such as the Asharoken fireworks display, but to also understand they need to practice safe boating when going to, viewing and leaving an event,” she said.