Following the recent shark sightings, the governor stepped up surveillance and safety protocols to protect New Yorkers.

This Memorial Day weekend, Governor Kathy Hochul is encouraging New Yorkers and visitors from neighboring states to safely visit New York State’s state parks, beaches, trails and historic sites. Many state park beaches will open for the first time this season, with the annual Bethpage Air Show taking place Saturday and Sunday at Jones Beach and Gov. Hochul encouraging New Yorkers to take proper safety precautions near the water, including taking steps to avoid sharks and other potentially dangerous marine life.

“New York has some of the best beaches on the East Coast, and this weekend is the perfect time to get out and enjoy our state’s natural beauty,” Governor Hochul said. “As we celebrate the long weekend, it’s important that New Yorkers remain vigilant about sharks and remember water safety best practices so summer can be safe, fun and enjoyable for all. I encourage every New Yorker to be on the Get out this weekend, visit a state park, and experience the beauty of nature with friends and family.”

Many state park swimming beaches and pools across the state will be open this Memorial Day weekend. Hours of operation vary by park.Check the status of your park on the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation website here. Most are only open on weekends until mid-June. The following are scheduled to open this weekend.

long island

  • jones beach

  • Robert Moses

  • Heather Hill

  • sunken meadow

New York City

  • Longmen Square (Fog Fountain)

  • Riverbank (swimming pool normal hours)

middle hudson

  • takanik l.

  • Lake Tiorati Beach

  • Lake Welch Beach

  • rockland l.

Capital District

  • Grafton Lake

  • Lake Morro

  • thompson l.

  • Taconi SP

mohawk valley

  • delta lake

  • Shimmer glass

  • gilbert l.

  • verona beach

South Line


finger lakes

west new york

Call ahead to confirm times, as swim times may change due to weather and other conditions.

New Yorkers encouraged to pay attention as shark sightings rise near Long Island beaches Shark Safety Guide:

  • Avoid areas with seals.

  • Avoid areas with schools of fish, splashing fish or diving seabirds.

  • Avoid swimming at dusk, night and dawn.

  • Avoid muddy water.

  • Swim, paddle and surf in groups.

  • Stay close to the shore so your feet can touch the bottom.

  • Always follow the directions of lifeguards and park personnel.

Last week, Governor Hochul Announce This summer, state parks implemented additional surveillance features, including protecting visitors from the negative effects of sharks:

  • An additional ten drones would more than double the eight currently in operation.

  • One of the new drones assigned to Park Police is a large corporate drone with thermal imaging, laser ranging and high-quality cameras for nighttime surveillance and patrolling in adverse weather conditions. The drone could also drop a personal flotation device in an emergency.

  • Currently, 21 staff members, including park police, state park operators, lifeguards and certified drone operators, have been trained. An additional 12 staff members will be trained before the 4th of July holiday weekend.

  • This summer, state park environmental educators held public awareness events about shark habitat at Jones Beach, Robert Moses and Sunken Meadows.

  • Two new Yamaha WaveRunners have been assigned to lifeguards patrolling Jones Beach and Robert Moses State Park. The two private boats will join a boat already operating at Sunken Meadow State Park.

  • An additional buffer zone will be created between the swimming area and the surf fishing area.

  • When sightings occur, New York State Police Aviation will respond as needed.

Other swimming safety tips that apply to all beaches, pools and bodies of water include:

– Make sure everyone in the group knows how to swim.

– Choose bright colors for swimwear. Neon pink and neon orange provide maximum visibility for shallow pools. For lakes and dark pools, neon green, neon orange, and neon yellow stand out the most.

– Consider learning CPR. In an emergency, every second counts.

  • Pay attention to the conditions.

– Ocean swimming is very different from pool swimming, so be prepared for strong waves, strong waves and sudden drops.

– Rift currents usually form near shallow points in the water and can occur on any beach with breaking waves, including the Great Lakes. If you get caught in a rip current, try to stay calm and not fight it. Swim parallel to the shore until out of the current, floating or treading water if you start to get tired.

-Stay away from water. Ragged, slippery rocks and murky waters can be dangerous.

– Swim only in designated areas and only when lifeguards are on duty. No-swimming areas often come with hazards such as rough currents, extreme cold and shallow water. These hazards can put even good swimmers at risk.

– Choose swimming spots near lifeguards for maximum visibility. Always follow their directions, and make sure any children you swim with do the same.

– Pay attention to the warning signs and understand what they mean. Green flags usually mark designated swimming areas – be sure to swim between the green flags. Yellow flags may indicate surf beaches or recommendations. A red flag means danger or danger. Sign names can vary, so be sure to understand the color coding before diving in.

– Always swim awake.

– If you are swimming with children, please designate a “water watcher” who will keep an eye on the children at all times. This person should not be reading, using the phone, or doing anything but observing. Never allow children to swim unsupervised.

– Know the signs of trouble: While we tend to think of swimmers in trouble waving and making loud noises, this may not always be the case. Beware of people with their head dipped in the water (mouth submerged) or tilted back with their mouth open, eyes closed or unable to concentrate, legs vertical in the water, or attempting to swim without making progress.

Governor Hochul encouraged New Yorkers to attend the Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach, one of the largest events on Long Island. Kicking off every Memorial Day weekend, the event draws thousands of visitors to Long Island beaches to celebrate the start of summer, illuminate military families and honor those who have served our country. The 2023 Bethpage Airshow will be held on Saturday, May 27 and Sunday, May 28, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., featuring the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and a range of military and civilian performers.For more information, please visit

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 parks, historic sites, recreational trails, golf courses, boat launches and more, visited by 79.5 million people in 2022.For more information on these entertainment areas, please call 518-474-0456 or visit www.parks.ny.govcontact us Facebookor continue instagram and Twitter.

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