Experts in maritime safety and law enforcement spoke Tuesday at a packed forum of boaters and others at Huntington Town Hall.
The session was designed to underscore the need for education and safety awareness, and to elicit ideas of what boaters thought should be presented at Wednesday's hearing in Oyster Bay. That hearing, led by State Sen. Carl Marcellino, R-Syosset, was scheduled in response to the July 4 Oyster Bay boat sinking that claimed the lives of three children who were trapped in the water when the 34-foot boat they were on capsized and sank after a fireworks show.
In the audience in Huntington Tuesday were the parents of one of those victims, Victoria Gaines, who was 7. Paul and Lisa Gaines listened to the experts review boating regulations, discuss the need for better boater education, legal enforcement, vessel inspections and other matters. Paul Gaines did not address the crowd, but a tearful Lisa Gaines acknowledged a woman who spoke up about the need to avoid future tragedies and at the end, thanked the audience for coming to the forum.
The forum was taped for TV presentation at a later date.
Expert speakers included Gene Roemer, bay constable, Harry Acker, senior harbormaster, Lt. Thomas Martorano of the Suffolk County Police Department who detailed the need for accurate information when searches are conducted, and representatives of the Coast Guard, the U.S. Power Squadron, and firefighters from Centerport and Northport.
Wednesday's hearing is scheduled for 11 a.m. hearing at Oyster Bay Town Hall.