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Ahead of Memorial Day Weekend, Governor Hochul Welcomes Visitors to State Beaches and Updates New Yorkers on Ongoing Shark Safety Protocols

Swimming Facilities Open Across the State on Memorial Day Weekend for New Yorkers to Use and Enjoy

In the Wake of Recent Shark Sightings, Governor has Stepped up Monitoring and Safety Protocols to Protect New Yorkers

Albany, NY – WEBWIRE

Governor Kathy Hochul today encouraged New Yorkers and visitors from neighboring states to safely enjoy state parks, beaches, trails and historic sites across New York this Memorial Day weekend. Many state park beaches will open for the first time this season, and the annual Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach taking place Saturday and Sunday, Governor Hochul encouraged New Yorkers to follow proper safety precautions near water, including steps to stay safe from sharks and other potentially dangerous marine life.

“New York has some of the best beaches on the Eastern Seaboard and this weekend is the perfect time to get out and enjoy our state’s natural splendor, Governor Hochul said. ”As we celebrate the long weekend, it’s vital New Yorkers stay alert for sharks and remember water safety best practices so the summer season is safe, fun, and enjoyable for all. I encourage every New Yorker to 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 throughout the state are opening this Memorial Day weekend. Hours vary by park. Please check the status of your park at the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation website here. Most are open weekends only until mid-June. The following are scheduled to open this weekend.

Long Island

  • Jones Beach
  • Robert Moses
  • Hither Hills
  • Sunken Meadow

New York City

  • Gantry Plaza (mist fountain)
  • Riverbank (pool open normal hours)


  • Lake Taghkanic
  • Lake Tiorati Beach
  • Lake Welch Beach
  • Rockland Lake

Capital District

  • Grafton Lakes
  • Moreau Lake
  • Thompson’s Lake
  • Taconic SP

Mohawk Valley

  • Delta Lake
  • Glimmerglass
  • Gilbert Lake
  • Verona Beach

Southern Tier

  • Chenango Valley


  • Green Lakes
  • Fair Haven

Finger Lakes

  • Seneca Lake sprayground

Western New York

  • Beaver Island
  • Woodlawn

Call ahead to confirm hours as swimming availability is subject to change due to weather and other conditions.

With an increase in shark sightings near Long Island beaches, New Yorkers are encouraged to follow this shark safety guidance:

  • Avoid areas with seals.
  • Avoid areas with schools of fish, splashing fish, or diving seabirds.
  • Avoid swimming at dusk, night, and dawn.
  • Avoid murky water.
  • Swim, paddle, and surf in groups.
  • Stay close to shore, where your feet can touch the bottom.
  • Always follow the instructions of lifeguards and Parks’ staff.

Last week, Governor Hochul announced state parks have implemented additional surveillance capabilities this summer include to protect visitors from negative shark interactions:

  • An additional ten drones will more than double the eight currently in operation.
  • One new drone assigned to Park Police is a large enterprise drone with thermal imaging, laser range finding, and high-quality cameras to allow for night-time surveillance and patrols in adverse weather conditions. This drone can also drop personal flotation devices in emergency situations.
  • Currently 21 staff including Park Police officers, State Park operational staff, lifeguards and certified drone operators are trained. An additional 12 staff members will be trained by the July 4th holiday weekend.
  • State Parks Environmental Educators holding public outreach regarding shark habitats for people at Jones Beach, Robert Moses and Sunken Meadow this summer.
  • Two new Yamaha WaveRunners have been assigned to lifeguards to patrol both Jones Beach and Robert Moses State Parks. These two personal watercrafts will join one already in operation at Sunken Meadow State Park.
  • Additional buffer zones will be created between swimming areas and surf fishing areas.
  • When sightings occur, New York State Police Aviation will be available to respond as needed.

Additional swimming safety tips for all beaches, pools and water bodies include:

  • Be proactive.
    1. Make sure everyone in your group knows how to swim.
    2. Choose bright colors for swimwear. Neon pink and neon orange offer the most visibility for light-bottomed pools. For lakes and dark-bottomed pools, neon green, neon orange and neon yellow are the most visible.
    3. Consider learning CPR. In an emergency, every second counts.

  • Be aware of the conditions.
    1. Ocean swimming is very different from pool swimming, so be prepared for powerful waves, strong surf and sudden drop-offs.
    2. Rip currents usually form near a shallow point in the water, and can happen at any beach with breaking waves, including the Great Lakes. If you are caught in a rip current, try to remain calm and don’t fight it. Swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current, and float or tread water if you begin to tire.
    3. Keep away from the water’s edge. Jagged, slippery rocks and murky waters can be hazardous.

  • Be aware of the rules.
    1. Swim only in designated areas, and only when a lifeguard is on duty. Prohibited swim areas are often accompanied by dangers such as turbulent underwater currents, extreme cold, and widely varying depths. These hazards can put even good swimmers at risk.
    2. Choose a swimming spot near a lifeguard for maximum visibility. Always follow their directions and ensure that any children you are swimming with do the same.
    3. Watch for warning flags and know what they mean. Green flags usually mark designated swimming areas - be sure to swim between the green flags. Yellow flags may denote a surfing beach or an advisory. Red flags indicate a danger or hazard. Flag designations may vary, so be sure to understand the color coding before you dive in.

  • Be attentive.
    1. Always swim sober.
    2. If you’re swimming with children, designate a “water watcher” who will always keep a close eye on the kids. This person shouldn’t be reading, using a phone, or doing anything but observing. Never let children swim unattended.
    3. Know the signs of trouble: While we tend to think that swimmers in trouble will be waving their hands and making lots of noise, this may not always be the case. Watch out for people whose heads are low in the water (mouth submerged) or tilted back with mouth open, eyes closed or unable to focus, legs vertical in the water, or who are trying to swim but not 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, this event attracts thousands of visitors to Long Island beaches to celebrate the beginning of summer and shine a light on military families as well as honoring those who serve our country. The 2023 Bethpage Air Show will take place 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, 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, which are visited by 79.5 million people in 2022. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit, connect with us on Facebook, or follow on Instagram and Twitter.

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