Amid pandemic, boats are selling fast on Long Island

This summer is turning out to be one of the busiest times for boat dealers. People looking for healthy ways to social distance are taking to the water to do so, resulting in double the number of sales at Great Bay Marine in Islip Terrace.

Sales manager Craig Kelly said inventory is at an all-time low. Great Bay Marine is sold out of small- to medium-size boats. The majority of people looking to buy are first-time boaters or those getting back into the hobby, he said.

"We usually keep 100 to 130 boats in stock and we're down to 16 boats in stock," Kelly said. "With the uptick in boat sales, you see new boaters, the more boaters on the waters, the more traffic there is, it's a good idea for people who have never boated before to take a lesson or a safety course."

Brianna's Law, which is now in effect, was created to ensure more safety for those out on the water. It requires voters who operate watercraft with engines to take and pass a boater safety course.

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said that 80% of fatal boating accidents involve a drowning victim.

So officials are reminding people about water safety. Earlier this month, one person was killed and six others injured in a boating crash in Freeport.

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Fatal boating accidents in the Northeast U.S. have increased by 400% in 2020 compared to this time last year, according to the Coast Guard. And we've seen this trend locally since the July 4th holiday.

"We've had 22 accidents on the waterways and two deaths on the waterways just here in Nassau," Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said. "We've had 18 people injured by jet skis, tubing accidents, cut by propellers or boating accidents."