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‘Jaws’ floats rafts of movie fans on Carmans River in Brookhaven

People board inflatable rafts to watch "Jaws" on

People board inflatable rafts to watch "Jaws" on the Carmans River in Brookhaven. Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

SHARK ALERT in Brookhaven!

A kayak outfitter has just begun offering floating movie nights, when patrons watch the 1975 Steven Spielberg classic, “Jaws,” from a raft on the Carmans River.

“I think people feel more vulnerable on the water,” says Brad DeSantis, owner of Carmans River Canoe & Kayak II. “It’s completely different in the dark. You can see the light of the eyes of the animals [raccoons, deer, owls, osprey] in the woods glowing, and you can hear the howls and screeches.”


The idea stemmed from DeSantis’ 17-year-old daughter, Summer. It caught on quickly.

“I figured, let’s throw it up on Facebook and see if anybody is interested,” DeSantis says. “We put it up and we had over 7,000 people respond in three days. The first date sold out in two minutes. I was shocked.”

Perhaps it was the movie selection that drew massive interest. “Fans of ‘Jaws’ have been waiting years for an experience like this,” says DeSantis. “People really want to float and watch it.”

Each screening is limited to 40 people who watch the film on two-person rafts anchored in front of a dock with a 9-by-16-foot screen.

There are prepackaged snacks like popcorn and soft drinks ($1-$5), and even T-shirts ($25) with a commemorative message: “I Survived Carmans River Movie Night 2017.” Movie nights are scheduled through September. DeSantis suggests wearing casual clothes that can get wet — just in case — and don’t forget to bring bug spray.


On opening night, patrons were lured in by the sheer novelty of the experience.

“I’ve never done anything like this before,” says Jennifer O’Gorman, 36, of Ronkonkoma. “Seeing the characters in the movie stranded on their boat with stuff going awry while you are in the water made it more fun.”

Allison Bayer, 27, of Shirley agrees. “It was kind of scarier,” she says. “ I did jump a few times.”

Jeanine Marino, 31, of Mastic Beach brought her fiancé, Michael Scherpich, because he’s fascinated with sharks.

“The tiki torches all around set the mood. The rafts are really comfortable, and we didn’t even get wet,” she says. “Just sitting there, we could look up at the stars and turtles would be moving in the water, which made it eerie.”

Seeing “Jaws” in this setting has its advantages.

“Whenever you heard the ‘Jaws’ theme, it would echo on the water, which enhanced the effect,” she says. “It was so cool. I want to go again.”

Mario P. Verdi III, 30, of Port Jefferson was on alert the entire time.

“I was waiting for something to mess with us,” he admits. “I thought at some point there’d be something under the raft. Luckily, it was just all in our heads.”

But, what are the chances a shark could show up in a river?

“Bull sharks have been found swimming up the Amazon,” DeSantis says with a wink. “We have a new inlet now that Hurricane Sandy broke through, so you never know what’s in the water.”


WHEN | WHERE 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays-Thursdays through August, Thursdays-Fridays in September at Carmans River Canoe & Kayak II, 2979 Montauk Hwy., Brookhaven. Ages 17 and older, those 13-16 years old must be accompanied by a guardian.

INFO 631-803-8496,


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