In a move that takes Shark Week off the TV screen, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced that the state will deploy new shark-monitoring drones to local beach communities on Long Island and New York City.
Gov. Hochul’s office said the move builds on the state’s previous actions taken to address and enhance beachgoers’ safety at state beaches.
“New York has some of the most beautiful beaches in the country, and I’ve directed State personnel to do everything possible to keep beachgoers safe this summer,” Gov. Hochul said. “Ahead of the busy summer season, we developed new tools and strategies to monitor marine wildlife and protect the health and safety of New Yorkers. These new drones will increase the shark monitoring capacity of local governments across Long Island and New York City, ensuring local beaches are safe for all beachgoers.”
According to a press release, the new drones will be distributed to all downstate municipalities by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks). The state is also providing funding to cover the cost of training local personnel to operate the drones. As most of the impacted municipalities do not have drone surveillance capability, the governor’s office said this investment will assist localities and agencies along the entire Long Island coastline and in New York City enhance their shark monitoring efforts.
In late May, Gov. Hochul announced enhanced shark monitoring measures for Long Island State Park beaches, which include State Parks’ expanded surveillance capabilities. The state has already added 10 new drones, doubling the eight that were in operation last year. One new drone is a large enterprise model that is equipped with thermal imaging, laser range finding, and high-quality cameras to allow for night-time surveillance and patrols in adverse weather conditions. The drone can also drop personal flotation devices in emergency situations.
The governor’s office also noted that 21 staff including Park Police officers, State Park operational staff, lifeguards and certified drone operators are trained for the effort. An additional 12 staff members were trained to be ready for this summer.