Huntington’s waterways are about to get a little bit safer. That’s because on Feb. 11 the Huntington Harbormaster’s office accepted a donation of a stokes basket from the Greater Huntington Council of Yachting and Boating Clubs (GHCYBC).
Representatives of the boating organization office were joined by Supervisor Chad Lupinacci, Councilman Ed Smyth and Councilwoman Joan Cergol at Halesite Marina to turn over the rescue equipment to the harbormaster.
A stokes basket is a metal litter used in rescue operations. The device will be used by the Town’s Department of Maritime Services on its M-1 response vessel to aid in the rescue of boaters in and around Huntington’s waterways.
“We sincerely appreciate the GHCYBC’s donation of this water rescue device,” Lupinacci said. “These will complement safety upgrades already implemented on our waterways, at our town marinas and to our response fleet during my administration.”
GHCYBC, founded in 1985, is “an advocate for the recreational boating community” which aims to encourage the sport of boating, promote safe seamanship and navigation and support marine safety and environmental protection issues.
Cergol expressed the town’s gratitude to the boating organization.
“GHCYBC has been a valued and generous waterfront partner to the Town for years,” Cergol said. “I’m grateful for their thoughtful attention to boating safety and our boating public with the recent donation of this stokes basket.”
The funds for the basket were raised from GHCYBC’s Safe Boating Week program, a comprehensive week of events designed to promote safe and enjoyable boating for the entire community. It features a marine expo, New York State safe boating course, vessel safety exams, and a variety of courses and lectures to promote informed boat ownership, safe boat handling and proper response to emergency situations.
“Greater Huntington Boating Council is pleased to use the proceeds from the event to purchase and donate a new stokes basket to the town,” Commodore Ed Carr said. “This device is a critical piece of equipment for retrieving an injured person in the water and ultimately transferring them to an ambulance.”
To even further enhance water safety, Smyth sponsored a resolution directing the Department of Maritime Services to purchase two additional stokes baskets at the Feb. 23 town board meeting.
“Now, each of the Town’s three rescue boats has a new basket,” Smyth said, but added, “we hope they never need to be used.”