Hempstead Town and Long Beach are jointly building a dock for police and firefighters to respond more quickly during emergencies in Reynolds Channel.
Construction is underway on the dock being built behind the Long Beach Fire Station No. 2 at the end of Indiana Avenue.
Once completed, the dock will support Long Beach police and fire boats as well as Hempstead Bay constables to respond to all South Shore communities off the barrier island.
The 70-foot long pier, which will include a 20-foot-long float for docking a rescue boat and water scooter, will allow for quicker response and rescue times for communities situated along Reynolds Channel, Hempstead officials said.
The dock will serve communities including Freeport, Atlantic Beach, East Atlantic Beach, Point Lookout, East Rockaway and Island Park.
“Over the years, our waterways have gotten so much more busy with fishermen, Jet Skis and duck hunters. It becomes a 12-month situation in the water,” Long Beach Fire Commissioner Scott Kemins said. "Something is going to happen, and we need to be able to go help them.”
Fire officials said having boats in the water will save response times by as much as 10 to 15 minutes when they receive a call.
“We’ve responded to Jet Ski accidents, boats run aground, drownings and Jet Skis running into bridges," Kemins said.
Police and firefighters presently have to tow a boat to the water and launch from a trailer when responding to an emergency, Kemins said. Long Beach recently dedicated a new fire boat to former firefighter and police officer Arnold John Daly, who died last year.
The dock is a joint venture between the Town of Hempstead and Long Beach with the main construction work being done by the town’s Department of Conservation and Waterways. Workers have begun pile driving in the water off Indiana Avenue to lay the foundation for construction.
The agreement calls on Long Beach to locate and purchase materials for the dock and then schedule a time for delivery and construction.
“This project is another great example of how the city council is working together with other municipalities for more efficient shared services that save taxpayer dollars and enhance public safety,” Long Beach City Council Vice President Chumi Diamond said.
Officials plan to finish the dock by the spring, when Long Beach officials will complete decking and railings, Kemins said. The shared services agreement uses the town’s expertise on bulkheading projects, he said.
“The bottom line is it will save precious moments, precious minutes and hopefully precious lives," Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen said.