Shark-monitoring UAVs patrol New York beaches

July 24, 2023  - By
Image: mingis/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Image: mingis/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Off the coast of Long Island, New York, UAVs are sweeping the ocean patrolling for any danger that may lurk below the water. This follows a recent increase in shark encounters for beachgoers, reported USA Today.

According to George Gorman, the state’s park director in Long Island, there have been five shark bites reported this year as shark season is just beginning.

On July 6, the sighting of a 10-foot shark prompted officials to keep people out of the water at Robert Moses State Park. This is the same Long Island beach that delayed its opening on July 4, after a UAV spotted a school of 50 sand sharks off the coast.

Even if the injuries have not been serious, Gorman and others are concerned by the spike in shark sightings and encounters.

The UAVs conduct three sweeps a day on popular Long Island beaches — once before opening, sometime midday, and a final round before the end of the day.

Cary Epstein, a lifeguard supervisor who pilots UAVs at Jones Beach, explained how UAVs provide additional viewpoints to lifeguards on the beach.

“When you’re up in an elevated lifeguard station or a lifeguard stand, you can see up and you can see out, but you can’t see straight down,” Epstein said. “When we do have sharks that are eating on these fish, it’s very, very clear to us. You could see it, no questions asked.”

Additional state funding has been provided for more advanced UAVs to spot sharks.
New York Governor, Kathy Hochul, recently announced a new program that will provide $1 million toward purchasing 60 new shark-monitoring UAVs. The new devices will build on the enhanced shark safety measures at Long Island state park beaches — including more trained staff, new jet skis, and more buffer zones between swimming areas and fishing areas.

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