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Boating Safety Forum Prompted by July 4 Tragedy

Boaters packed the Town Hall meeting room Tuesday, August 7, as the  Town of Huntington held a Boating Safety forum to discuss what to do and what not to do when viewing events such as fireworks displays that attract large numbers of vessels.

The forum, which included presentations from the Huntington Harbormaster’s Office, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, the Neptune Power Squadron, the Centerport and Northport Fire Departments and the Suffolk County Police Department’s Marine Bureau, was prompted by the July 4 tragedy in which three children died when the boat they were on watching a fireworks display in Oyster Bay Cove overturned and sank. The parents of one of those children, 8-year-old Victoria Gaines, attended the forum.

Huntington Supervisor Frank P. Petrone, who was joined by Councilman Mark Cuthbertson in presenting the forum, made reference to the tragedy in his opening remarks as he stressed the need to move forward with possible boating safety legislation and sessions such as the forum to promote safe boating. Supervisor Petrone and Councilman Cuthbertson noted that one impetus for the event was the Huntington Lighthouse Preservation Society’s upcoming Music Festival over Labor Day weekend, an event that draws hundreds of boats to the Lighthouse in Huntington Bay. The Huntington Lighthouse Preservation Society was a co-sponsor of the event, along with the Greater Huntington  Council of Yacht and Boating Clubs.

The presentations covered topics such as Know Your Boat, Preparing to Get Underway, Emergencies on Board, Assisting in Emergencies and Search and Rescue, Weather and Communication. Attendees were given a fact sheet with helpful hints covered in the forum. The hints can be viewed and downloaded on the Town’s website using the link

The forum, which was moderated by Senior Harbormaster Harry Acker, was recorded for broadcast on the Town’s government access television channels and on the Town’s website.


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