The East Hampton Town Board voted to accept the donation of a drone by New York State when it met last Thursday, intending to use the craft to monitor the waters off the town's beaches for sharks.
Shark sightings in waters off Long Island have risen dramatically in the last few years, with a number of nonfatal bites recorded. The town and East Hampton Village briefly closed some ocean beaches one day last August after a surfcaster caught a six-foot spinner shark and another shark was sighted hours later. Around 20 sharks were seen off Main Beach in the village on a weekend day last month. The village has been employing a drone to monitor for sharks this summer.
There are "tens of thousands of residents and visitors each summer" who "spend time enjoying the multitude of beaches," according to the resolution. "In recognizing the need for increased and diligent shark monitoring for these Long Island beach communities," Gov. Kathy Hochul "directed state funding toward the purchase of drones that would be given to affected municipalities."