Albany, NY - August 5, 2014 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) today announced that six new Brunswick "Justice" Patrol Boats have been assigned to State and local law enforcement agencies across New York. The watercraft will be used to to assist with marine law enforcement efforts on waterways throughout the State.
“New York is blessed with an abundance of waterways that offer unparalleled opportunities for outdoor recreation – and by increasing the presence of law enforcement agencies on the water we are ensuring that they continue to be as safe as they are enjoyable,” Governor Cuomo said. “These patrol boats help local organizations across the State maintain order on the waters in and around their communities. I am pleased that the State was able to provide these resources to our local partners, and I encourage all New Yorkers to get out and have a safe and enjoyable time on the water this year.”
"Tourists and residents alike enjoy New York State for its plentiful lakes, rivers and coastal waters, which provide many spectacular and diverse places for boating and fishing," said State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey. "And with so many boaters taking advantage of these great destinations, it is crucial that the State supports local law enforcement efforts to help keep boaters safe, and ensure a fun and enjoyable experience on the water."
This year's patrol vessels were assigned to the Columbia County Sheriff's Department, the Long Island municipalities of Hempstead and Shelter Island along with the New York State Police, the New York State Park Police and the Lake George Park Commission. The vessels, valued at approximately $125,000 each, were made possible through the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund administered by the U.S. Coast Guard, which provides funding to the states to assist with recreational boating safety. The primary mission for these vessels will be the safety of recreational boaters and enforcement of New York State Navigation Laws.
The State has allocated a total of $2.1 million this year to defray the costs of marine safety efforts for 53 law enforcement agencies across New York. Since 1959, New York State has supported boater safety through financial assistance in support of marine law enforcement patrols.
The State Parks Marine Service Unit is responsible for the general coordination of boating safety programs and supports marine law enforcement efforts across the State, including patrols, training and funding for local marine enforcement activities. For more information about boating safety – including listings of boating safety courses – and marine recreation in New York State, visit www.nysparks.com/recreation/boating.
Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy said, “The New York waterways provide an exciting source of recreational activities such as boating and fishing, not only during the summer months, but throughout the year. I am pleased to learn that here on Long Island Hempstead will be included in this round of vessels. These patrol boats will assist law enforcement agencies and help to ensure the safety of our waterways and I applaud Governor Cuomo for continuing his efforts to protect both New York residents and tourists.”
Congressman Tim Bishop said, “Maritime safety is a top priority year-round, but particularly during the summer months when more residents use recreational watercraft. This new patrol vessel for Shelter Island will help local law enforcement officials monitor the water ways and protect residents and visitors alike. I am glad that the U.S. Coast Guard was able to work with the Governor’s office to provide this assistance.”
Congressman Bill Owens said, “This vessel will improve the safety and security of Lake George and ensure that tourists and residents in the region can enjoy time on the water. I am pleased that the State is providing this necessary equipment.”
Congressman Chris Gibson said, “Columbia County is blessed with miles of Hudson River shoreline and beautiful creeks and lakes. Our waterways connect thousands of residents and visitors to the awesome beauty of the Hudson Valley. I am delighted that our Sheriff’s Office will have enhanced capabilities to protect boaters, anglers, and swimmers. Public safety is a vital component of our outdoors economy.”
Columbia County Sheriff David Bartlett said, “Boaters enjoying the Hudson River will see members of the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit utilizing a new patrol vessel. This partnering with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation affords this department the opportunity to be equipped with state-of-the-art equipment when patrolling the Hudson River at no cost to the county. Having vessels like this will help ensure that members of the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit are able to keep up the increasing demand for patrolling our waterways. The vessel will ensure that our deputy sheriffs are safe while assisting our boating community.”
Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray said, “Intergovernmental cooperation is something that helps governments operate more efficiently and cost effectively. In this case, we are extremely grateful to New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Rose Harvey for providing a 25-foot Boston Whaler boat for our Bay Constables’ fleet. This new boat will be extremely helpful in BWI enforcement, monitoring of wetlands and conducting various missions in the event of future storms. Once again, we thank Governor Cuomo for this generous gift to the Town of Hempstead. It will be put to good use.”
Boating has a $2.1 billion impact on the State's economy. New York is the only state that borders marine tidewaters, the Great Lakes and large interior freshwater lakes, in addition to having an extensive canal system. The State is eighth in the nation for registered watercraft — not including non-powered boats like kayaks and canoes, which make up a large proportion of the boats in the North Country.
In September 2013, Governor Cuomo signed a law requiring anyone born on or after May 1, 1996 to complete an approved eight-hour course and receive a Boating Safety Certificate. Still, regardless of age, all personal watercraft (PWC) operators need a Boating Safety Certificate.
This year's State budget includes $90 million in New York Works funding for improvements to State Parks and historic sites, including boat launches, marinas and campgrounds. Launched by the Governor in 2012, New York Works is advancing repair and improvement projects at 109 State Parks and historic sites across the State.
Pictured: One of the six new Brunswick "Justice" Patrol Boats.