Ed Day, Rockland County Executive

June 27, 2014
Contact:   Scott Salotto  (845) 638-5645  (C.E.)
                 Robert VanCura (845)638-5466  (Sheriff)


Increased Marine Patrols Near Tappan Zee Bridge To Keep Boaters Safe; Enforcement Patrols To Crack Down On Impaired Boaters

NEW CITY, NY  --  With the summer boating season now underway, Rockland County Executive Ed Day and Sheriff Louis Falco III today announced stepped up marine safety enforcement efforts on the Hudson River.  In the waters surrounding the Tappan Zee Bridge project, recreational boaters face a growing number of moored construction vessels and restricted navigation areas.  The Rockland County Sheriff's Marine Unit will coordinate additional patrols throughout the summer to achieve a high visibility in order to raise awareness of potential hazards.

"With more construction barges arriving each day, we must continue to work with the U.S. Coast Guard and the New NY Bridge project developers to keep our boaters informed and safe," said County Executive Day. "Our Sheriff's marine assets will work to keep the waters near the bridge from becoming a dangerous obstacle course. "

For the first time ever, the Sheriff's Marine Unit is patrolling the Hudson River with three vessels.  Two of the boats operate from a marina in Stony Point, while a third vessel is dispatched from a dock beneath the Tappan Zee Bridge.  The trio routinely patrols the entire 26-mile Rockland County shoreline and responds to river emergencies, along with our law enforcement partners in Westchester, Putnam and Orange counties.

In addition to an increased presence near the Tappan Zee Bridge construction zone, the Sheriff's Marine Unit will expand efforts to detect and apprehend intoxicated boat and watercraft operators.  Hudson River skippers found to have a blood alcohol content of .08% will be arrested for boating while intoxicated.  A vessel operator with a blood alcohol concentration above the legal limit runs a significantly increased risk of being involved in a boating mishap.

Said Sherriff Falco, "The Hudson River offers boaters unparalleled opportunities for warm weather enjoyment.  But, activities on our waterways must be conducted in a responsible manner.  Mariners are reminded that designating a sober vessel operator is always the safest bet if alcohol is included in their outing.  Our marine units will be watching."

The Coast Guard has established a "regulated navigation area" that stretches 500 yards north and south of the Tappan Zee Bridge, a "no wake" area where boaters must slow down. Additionally, the Coast Guard is in the final stages of approving a two-square-mile "safety zone" around the project's moored construction barges.  Once approved, recreational boaters will be banned from the zone.

Today's safe boating message is critical to the economic vitality of Piermont. "Visitors and local residents alike must know that Piermont Bay is safe to navigate, and that local restaurants and retailers are open for business," said Day.  "The impact that spending has on creating jobs and essential tax revenue cannot be overstated.  The performance of Piermont's tourism industry is integral to the overall health of the County."

The Rockland County Sheriff's Marine Unit continues to work closely with the Coast Guard Auxiliary on safety inspections and local boater/watercraft certification and education programs.