Governor Kathy Hochul declared on Friday a decisive step to combat the escalating rate of shark attacks this year. The state plans to significantly expand its fleet of shark-monitoring drones, incorporating dozens of Autel EVO II Enterprise V3 models, to bolster beachgoer safety along Long Island, New York City, and Westchester County coasts.
The inclusion of Autel EVO II Enterprise drones strengthens the current collection of 18 shark-monitoring drones, which are predominantly if not entirely, comprised of DJI models.
Based on the video footage, it seems that NY State purchased dozens of the Autel Robotics EVO II Dual 640T V3 Thermal Drone Enterprise Bundles that sell for well over $5,000 apiece. The drones come with two additional batteries, a smart controller, and a number of accessories.
These Chinese-made drones are part of a $1 million plan to provide a vigilant “eye in the sky” to boost beach safety. The funding will also provide for the training and Part 107 certification of drone operators to effectively use this equipment.
During a press conference at Jones Beach, Nassau County, Hochul stated the Chinese-made drones would carry out three daily sweeps—upon opening, around midday, and at closing time. “If the message can get out to the sharks: we are watching… from land and sea and air,” Hochul remarked.
Hochul highlighted the escalating concern regarding sharks, stating, “We went from having one shark encounter in 2012 to eight a decade later.” This increase is due, in part, to cleaner waters off the New York coast and the movement of seals and fish, sharks' primary food supply, closer to the shore.
To support safety, pay rates for lifeguards have been increased to attract more young people to the job. Hochul encouraged potential recruits, saying, “We need you, we need you, we need you to help protect our families and our children in particular.”
The state's Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner, Erik Kulleseid, reportedly reminded everyone that 13 species of sharks inhabit the waters near New York's coastline. He noted, “they've always been there, and we have to share the ocean with them,” emphasizing the need for peaceful coexistence.
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