Nassau County beefing up water patrols for Memorial Day weekend, warning against speeding, BWI

WANTAGH, Long Island (WABC) -- Nassau County is increasing waterway patrols ahead of the busy Memorial Day holiday weekend and urging boaters to refrain from drinking and driving.

Officers with the police Marine Bureau expect to have their hands full.

Bureau Supervisor Sgt. Timothy Cestaro said some of the busiest areas on Nassau's South Shore are Zach's Bay and Freeport., and police are adding patrols on both the North and South shores where crowded beach channels can be dangerous.

"We're in the state channel, and there's definitely high traffic in this area," he said. "Especially inexperienced in those tight channels, where people are driving the boats a little faster, that can create very dangerous situations here on the water."

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What police say they're looking for are erratic drivers who are going to fast and not staying within the buoys.

"There's a lot of water out here, but there also isn't when there's a lot of boats and people who try to rush to get places," Officer Brian Law said. "It's about speed, and it's about paying attention. Those are the two biggest things."

It's two tips Seaford father and son Bobby and Robert Karakasians are listening to before boarding their boat this weekend.

"We're just testing out our boat today, just making sure our boat is running properly," Robert Karakasians said. "We need them out there because of a lot of boaters, and they'll be out there drinking and stuff like that."

Police will also check for life jackets, making sure too many people aren't on a boat, and that jet skiers aren't too close to the boats.

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As officers watch the waters, police will also scan the roads.

Nassau County District Attorney Anne Donnelly gave a stark warning about drunk driving, referencing the deadly New Hyde Park crash this week that left a grandmother and two relatives dead after a Sweet 16 party.

"Think before you drink," she said. "Think before you drive. You may save someone's life."

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