After multiple shark sighting on the south shore, Town of Hempstead Supervisor Don Clavin unveiled a new “Jet Ski” personal watercraft and deployed a team of lifeguards on a Bay Constable boat to monitor the waters as needed during this period of shark sightings on Thursday.
Starting Monday a string of shark sightings were reported, forcing beaches on the south shore to temporarily prohibit swimming for beachgoers. The new shark patrol tools aim to enhance Hempstead Town’s ongoing efforts to safeguard the shore from potentially dangerous situations, as lifeguards continue to survey the waters, whether from their assigned posts, on surfboards, on a boat, and now with personal watercraft.
“Our trained lifeguards are crucial in allowing us to quickly identify sharks in the water and alert the public of imminent danger,” Clavin said. “By creating a dedicated ‘shark patrol,’ we are providing our lifeguard team with an immediate advantage as they monitor the waters and work to keep beachgoers safe.”
A key feature of Hempstead Town’s shark patrol is the continued deployment of a Bay Constable and a boat to team with members of the lifeguard squad to search for sharks in the waters. By teaming lifeguards with the Bay Constables, the town is utilizing a crew that is experienced with waterways, bays and oceans.
Combined with the new “Jet Ski,” this provides lifeguards with an up-close and enhanced perspective of the ocean as they keep an eye out for potentially dangerous sharks. With the Jet Ski, lifeguards can move through the ocean both faster and more safely should they end up in a hazardous situation. The new Jet Ski is currently a rental to utilize for the entirety of this busy Long Island shark season, and officials will work to secure a purchased personal watercraft in the near future.
With sightings of significantly sized sharks, Clavin and the lifeguard team have restricted swimming throughout the week and has made adaptations as the situation changes. The waters were closed down until closing on Wednesday night, and lifeguards were evaluating to make a decision on Thursday morning. Restrictions have included “ankle-deep,” “ankle to waist,” “red-flagged, no swimming” and have varied depending on the location and time of the sighting.
“Town of Hempstead lifeguards do an outstanding job of making sure everyone stays safe,” Clavin said. “In order for that to happen, we need to make sure they stay safe, too.”
For more updates on beach closures and schedule changes, visit hempsteadtownny.gov or follow the Town of Hempstead on social media.