Safe Boating Week debuts this weekend in Suffolk County, shoving off a public awareness campaign aimed at preventing tragedies such as several recent fatalities off Long Island’s coast.

The Suffolk County Legislature unanimously approved a resolution last week declaring May 18-24 Safe Boating Week as a part of a national program to promote boating safety, encourage boaters to take boating safety courses and raise awareness of the dangers of boating while intoxicated.

“Boating is one of the best parts of our centuries old tradition and culture in Suffolk County,” said Legis. Steve Stern (D-Huntington), who proposed the law.  “A day out on the water should be a pleasure, not one that ends in tragedy.”

The legislature also passed a law last year requiring that skippers in Suffolk take boater safety courses, but that doesn’t go into effect until November.

Both bills were proposed after three children drowned when their boat capsized in Cold Spring Harbor on July 4 and a fisherman was killed by a drunken boater in the Great South Bay days prior.

The Greater Huntington Council of Yacht and Boating Clubs, the Town of Huntington, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and the Neptune Sail and Power Squadron will be offering free New York State Boating Courses for the week.  For more information about these classes, call 631-351-3256 or 631-824-7128

A Nautical Flea Market is also scheduled for 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at Mill Dam Park in Huntington on Sunday.

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Timothy Bolger is the Editor in Chief of the Long Island Press who’s been working to uncover unreported stories since shortly after it launched in 2003. When he’s not editing, getting hassled by The Man or fielding cold calls to the newsroom, he covers crime, general interest and political news in addition to reporting longer, sometimes investigative features. He won’t be happy until everyone is as pissed off as he is about how screwed up Lawn Guyland is.