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Hempstead gets new boat for bay constables during busiest time on waterways

The boat, formerly used by the U.S. Coast Guard, is able to go into shallower waters than the rest of the fleet, which will aid enforcement of boating laws, officials said.

Hempstead Town Supervisor Laura Gillen unveiled the town’s newly-acquired 25-foot response boat from the U.S. Coast Guard at the West Marina in Point Lookout on Tuesday.  (Credit: Newsday / Stefanie Dazio)

Town of Hempstead officials christened a new boat for bay constables on Monday at West Marina in Point Lookout and announced additional waterway patrols and enforcement for the July Fourth holiday week.

The 25-foot boat was purchased from U.S. Coast Guard surplus and picked up by the town in Illinois, town officials said. It had been previously used on Lake Michigan and typically retails for more than $300,000.

It becomes the town’s most technologically-advanced patrol boat and can go into shallower waters than the rest of the fleet, which is important to help boats that run aground in the back bays. The new boat can navigate waters as shallow as 2 1/2 feet. It can also be used during ice emergencies and in ocean waters.

“This response boat will fill a critical gap in the town’s emergency response,” Supervisor Laura Gillen said at a news conference, joined by Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney, Councilman Bruce Blakeman, Town Clerk Sylvia Cabana, Department of Conservation and Waterways Commissioner Thomas Doheny, and several bay constables. “Every second counts when you’re responding to victims.”

The boat was recently acquired from the U.S. Coast Guard for $40,000, town officials said. It had been used for about 1,000 hours. Town officials christened the boat by cracking bottles of champagne.

The boat is a SAFE 25-foot Response Boat the town called “Hempstead Constable 2.”

Former Town Supervisor Anthony Santino said on Twitter that his administration had procured the boat during his term and the paperwork was signed in 2017.

The additional enforcement along the South Shore is in response to the busiest time of year for boating, with increased holiday traffic in the waterways, officials said.

The town board members and Cabana also cautioned residents against drinking alcohol while boating and urged them to wear life jackets.

“We continue to look out for the safety of our residents,” King Sweeney said.

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