Town of Smithtown gets rescue airboat for stranded boaters

Posted: Updated:
SMITHTOWN -

The Town of Smithtown has purchased a rescue airboat to help stranded boaters in the event of an emergency.

The 19-foot airboat is the only one of its kind on Long Island.

Deputy of Public Safety Kevin McPadden says because of dredging issues, more boaters are getting stranded.

Public safety officer George Ronan says the airboat will also help boarders and kayakers who get stuck in the muck during a low tide.

"We have had situations where we couldn't get to people because of the tide and shallow water," says Ronan.

The airboat can travel up to 70 mph in just 3 inches of water.

"We can slide it over grass, sandy areas," says Ronan. "And we can drive it over asphalt parking lots."

McPadden says the airboat is task-specific and will only be used in an emergency or training exercise.

The airboat cost about $60,000, and Smithtown officials say it was paid for with federal grant money.

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