New York State on Tuesday announced enhanced shark patrols for state park beaches on Long Island, including new drones and more certified drone operators. Beachgoers reacted to the increased safety measures. NewsdayTV's Cecilia Dowd reports. Credit: Newsday/Howard Schnapp; File Footage; Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara; AP Photo/Michael Sohn; Julie Larsen Maher/Wildlife Conservation Society via AP

They might've needed a bigger boat in "Jaws," but the state says Long Island swimmers at its park beaches can count on being shielded from shark activity by drones and other surveillance techniques this summer.

New York State will deploy a more capable, expanded monitoring system, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Tuesday, adding that the enlarged capabilities were in response to an increase in shark sightings last summer.

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, in conjunction with the state Department of Environmental Conservation and State Police, will use drones, watercraft and helicopters to monitor the waters off state park beaches.

"With New Yorkers and visitors alike preparing to enjoy our beautiful Long Island beaches all summer long, their safety is our top priority," Hochul said in a statement Tuesday.

The expanded surveillance includes the addition of 10 drones, bringing the number of drones available to 18. A new drone for state park police has thermal imaging, laser range finding and high-quality cameras for nighttime surveillance and use in adverse weather conditions, the governor's office said.

Currently 21 staff members, including park police officers, state park staff, lifeguards and certified drone operators are trained to use them, officials said, with an additional 12 staff members scheduled to be trained by the July Fourth weekend.

The large enterprise drone assigned to park police can even drop a personal flotation device in emergency situations, officials said.

Two new Yamaha WaveRunners also have been assigned to lifeguards on patrol at Jones Beach and Robert Moses state parks, joining one already in use at Sunken Meadow State Park.

Additional buffer zones between swimming and surf-fishing areas will be added, while a state police aviation unit will be made available to respond to shark sightings, officials said.

Public outreach sessions about shark habitats will be conducted by state parks environmental educators at Jones Beach, Robert Moses and Sunken Meadow.

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Hamptons drowning … Concerns over LIPA's future … Paralympic gold medalist Credit: Newsday

Primary day ... Port Washington retirement community ... NY Rise win ... Paralympic gold medalist

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