By Janee Law
The Greater Huntington Council of Yacht and Boating Club’s 5th annual Safe Boating Week kicks off this Saturday and continues with nautical activities through Friday, May 26.
Jackie Martin, GHCYBC executive officer, said the annual Safe Boating Week Waterfront Festival, which is set for Sunday, will be the biggest one yet.
“Part of our mission is to promote recreational boating and recreational boating has sometimes become synonymous with safety,” Martin said. “It’s a great way for us to raise awareness, promote the mission and then in return give back to the boating community by donating something that is safety related or enhances a recreational experience for boaters.”
This year, the festival will kick off at 10 a.m. and run through 5 p.m. at Mill Dam Field in Halesite.
There will be eight food and drink vendors, including craft beer from Oyster Bay Brewing Company, and, for the first time, wines from Riverhead-based Martha Clara Vineyard.
Six bands will perform, including School of Rock, Shot Glass Nickel, Slightly Damaged Goods, Just Cause, and the Road Kings on the Town of Huntington’s Showmobile Stage.
Along with the food, drinks and entertainment, the festival will have boat dealers; displays by marine equipment vendors; fishing gear, nautical home déco, antiques and work from local artists and craftsmen for sale; and attractions and amusements for kids.
For Safe Boating Week as a whole, the GHCYBC, which represents 22 clubs with boating and waterfront interests, has partnering with the Town of Huntington, Coast Guard Auxiliary, Power Squadron and other marine-related safety agencies.
The partnerships have led to free public events related to maritime education, safety and enjoyment. They include an eight-hour state boating safety course; and courtesy vessel safety inspections by the Coast Guard Auxiliary and Power Squadron. There will also be lectures and seminars on a range of topics, and kayak and paddleboard safety classes.
Martin said there will also be a free tour of the Eatons Neck Coast Guard Station on Saturday at both 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. Reservations are required.
The basic CPR course is also free this year and will be held Monday, 7:15 p.m. at Huntington Community First Aid Squad Headquarters (2 Railroad St., Huntington Station). Registration is required.
This year’s Safe Boating Week recognizes Coast Guardsman Michael Bovill, of the U.S. Coast Guard Station in Eatons Neck. Bovill, who died in a car accident and donated his heart to save another life, will be recognized with the Making a Difference Award. The award will be presented to Anthony Martinez, commander of the station, from LiveOnNY, an organization devoted to encouraging organ donations.
“There have been very positive things that have happened as a result of the boating council doing what it does, and also the community awareness due to this event,” Martin said. “It’s a way of promoting our organization and people become more enthusiastic about it.”
Huntington’s involvement in the nationally-recognized safe boating week began the year following a fatal July 4, 2012 boating disaster in the waters of Oyster Bay Harbor, where three children were killed after a 34-foot cabin cruiser they were aboard capsized during a fireworks display.