The town of Huntington will host a course to train bay constables to test boaters suspected of intoxication.
The one-day training, scheduled for Feb. 11, will be provided to nine bay constables. Other officers from the town's incorporated villages will be invited to participate.
Officers will be shown how to administer and evaluate sobriety tests on site, wherever boats are stopped for suspected intoxicated operation. Currently, suspected inebriated boaters are taken to the shore for the tests.
The eight-hour course is offered by the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
“The Town works closely with the boating community to keep Huntington waters safe, and we take seriously our responsibility to help all area marine officers do their jobs effectively,” said Supervisor Frank P. Petrone. “We are pleased that our bay constables will be attending this seminar and that space is available to extend the invitation to other maritime enforcement officers.”
The training session is the latest in a series of steps the town has taken to promote boating safety since an accident in Oyster Bay Harbor on July 4, 2012 killed three children.
Among the previous measures are holding boating safety forums in partnership with the Greater Huntington Council of Yacht and Boating Clubs and passing legislation authorizing the Town Harbormaster’s Office to establish 5 mph zones during aquatic events. The Town has also stepped up patrols during those events.
“On-site testing will speed up the time officers spend administering tests, keeping them out on the water, where they are needed most,” said Councilman Susan A. Berland. “Ensuring that our maritime officers are trained in the latest methods is another way the Town can contribute to boating safety.”
“These new procedures make it easier for an officer to detect and arrest impaired and intoxicated boaters,” said Councilman Mark Cuthbertson. “Ultimately, adding tools for law enforcement should deter drunk boating and decrease the number of alcohol-related crashes, deaths and injuries.”
The session will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Town Hall. It is open to officers who previously attended training in administering the on-shore sobriety tests.
“Responsible boaters recognize the role law enforcement plays in helping them enjoy their leisure time,” said Councilwoman Tracey A. Edwards. “We appreciate the boating community’s cooperation, support and encouragement in the continuing effort to keep our waters safe.”