May 16, 2023
Albany, NY

Governor Hochul Announces Enhanced Shark Monitoring for Long Island State Park Beaches

Governor Hochul Announces Enhanced Shark Monitoring for Long Island State Park Beaches

State Agencies Expand Monitoring Capabilities to Identify Shark Activity Near Bathing Beaches

Ten New Drones Will be Deployed this Summer, More Than Doubling The State's Shark Monitoring Capacity

Expands Public Outreach and Promotes Shark Safety Guidance

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced measures in place to protect beachgoers from sharks at Long Island State Park beaches this summer. The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Department of Environmental Conservation and the New York State Police will increase surveillance including drone, watercraft and helicopter monitoring along the Long Island State Park Beaches. These measures build upon the Governor's actions taken to address and enhance beachgoers' safety with an increase in shark sightings last summer.

"With New Yorkers and visitors alike preparing to enjoy our beautiful Long Island beaches all summer long, their safety is our top priority," Governor Hochul said. "This year we are taking further action to protect beachgoers by increasing surveillance to monitor for shark activity near beaches off the South Shore. I encourage all New Yorkers to listen to local authorities, follow guidance and take precautions to ensure a safe and responsible beach trip this summer."

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) held a pre-season meeting in April with beachfront municipalities and local agencies to provide the latest information on shark activity in New York State and discuss coordinated beachfront notifications. State Park Police and Department of Environmental Conservation Police Officers will coordinate patrols at the request of specific parks in the event of a probable shark sighting.

New York State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, "The action being taken along the South Shore of Long Island will give us eyes in the sky and along the coastline. Over the past two seasons, we've learned that drones are the most effective mechanism to detect environmental conditions that could attribute to shark activity. We are expanding patrols with drones and watercraft to help prevent the rare occurrences of negative shark interactions with swimmers, surfers, surf fishermen, and boaters at our beaches."

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said,New York's ocean beaches and coastline are part of a wild and natural marine ecosystem. Sharks are a vital part of this ecosystem, and they play an essential role in maintaining a healthy and balanced ocean. Human-shark interactions are relatively rare events in New York, however, all beachgoers should follow DEC's shark safety guidance to minimize their risk of negative interactions with sharks."

New York State Police Acting Superintendent Steven Nigrelli said, "New York State Police is ready to assist our partners in keeping beachgoers and our waters safe this season. In the event of a sighting or incident, NYSP Aviation is prepared to provide swift support as needed."

State Parks' expanded surveillance capabilities this summer include:

  • An additional ten drones will more than double the eight currently in operation
  • One new drone assigned to Park Police is a large enterprise drone with thermal imaging, laser range finding, and high-quality cameras to allow for night-time surveillance and patrols in adverse weather conditions. This drone can also drop personal flotation devices in emergency situations
  • Currently 21 staff including Park Police officers, State Park operational staff, lifeguards and certified drone operators are trained. An additional 12 staff members will be trained by the July 4th holiday weekend
  • State Parks Environmental Educators holding public outreach regarding shark habitats for people at Jones Beach, Robert Moses and Sunken Meadow this summer
  • Two new Yamaha WaveRunners have been assigned to lifeguards to patrol both Jones Beach and Robert Moses State Parks. These two personal watercrafts will join one already in operation at Sunken Meadow State Park
  • Additional buffer zones will be created between swimming areas and surf fishing areas
  • When sightings occur, New York State Police Aviation will be available to respond as needed

Shark sighting response

After a confirmed shark sighting in proximity to a State Park beach, the following actions are taken:

  • Swimming is suspended following a sighting
  • Swimming is allowed to resume at least one hour after the last sighting
  • All sightings are referred to Long Island Coastal Awareness Group, which consists of over 200 individuals from municipalities, agencies, and private beach operators stretching from Queens through Long Island
  • State Park lifeguards continuously scan and patrol the waters for shark activity

To minimize the risk of shark interactions, the Department of Environmental Conservation advises the following shark safety guidance:

  • Avoid areas with seals
  • Avoid areas with schools of fish, splashing fish, or diving seabirds
  • Avoid swimming at dusk, night, and dawn
  • Avoid murky water
  • Swim, paddle, and surf in groups
  • Stay close to shore, where your feet can touch the bottom
  • Always follow the instructions of lifeguards and Parks' staff

Contact the Governor’s Press Office

Contact us by phone:

Albany: (518) 474-8418
New York City: (212) 681-4640


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