Authorities warn of stepped up BWI patrols for Memorial Day weekend

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HUNTINGTON -

Several waterfront towns across Long Island are warning boaters of enhanced safety measures for Memorial Day weekend, which serves as the unofficial start of the summer and boating season.

"Last year, 22 people in New York state, including seven here on Long Island, were killed in boating accidents," says Huntington Town Supervisor Chad Lupinacci. "That is up from 16 boating deaths the previous year."

Authorities in Huntington, Islip, Oyster Bay, Hempstead and other towns say they are stepping up patrols for drunken boaters.

"We will put you through a field sobriety test," warns Huntington Harbormaster Fred Uvena. "We will handcuff you, and you will be arrested."

Gina Lieneck, who lost her 11-year-old daughter to a boating accident in 2005, is also advocating mandatory boating safety courses.

"If you can't take a few hours of your life to learn the rules and regulations, that's not right," she says. "Because you don't want to be sitting in a funeral parlor for one of your loved ones."

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