New York Sea Grant (NYSG) is rolling out some COVID-19 rapid response projects to assist New York’s coastal users. Beach Safely is a new summer-long social media campaign that helps to remind beachgoers to stay safe and have fun. NYSG is providing New York State’s saltwater and freshwater marine industry for-hire boating sector with a series of decals to encourage compliance with boating-specific COVID-19 safety precautions.
NYSG also provides additional information that businesses, educators, landowners and other stakeholders can use during the pandemic at seagrant.sunysb.edu/stayingconnected.
COVID-19 brings considerations beyond the usual beach safety messaging. In response, Sea Grant programs are launching a new social media graphic each week with specific safety messages for beachgoers.
“The driving force behind ‘Beach Safely’ is that we want people to ‘be safe,’ said NYSG’s Coastal Processes and Facilities Specialist Kathleen Fallon, who is based at Stony Brook University and leads the project. “This summer it’s important that people know they can still go outside and enjoy the beach but need to understand how to do so safely.”
This is reinforced in the campaign’s first message, “Stay Social, Be Distant,” which will launch by mid-July. Other messages to follow throughout the summer will highlight such things as how to break the grip of a rip current, which can pose a serious threat for beachgoers. These narrow channels of fast-moving water that pull swimmers away from the shore account for more than 80 percent of lifeguard beach rescues.
Making sure you have your sunscreen and sanitizer as well as making sure your mask doesn’t become marine debris are two other key reminders that will play out during the nine-week long campaign on www.seagrant.sunysb.edu/beachsafely.
For Hire Industry
NYSG is providing COVID-19 Sign Kits for use on For Hire vessels.
“Angling is an excellent outdoor recreation past time, as long it is conducted in ways to minimize the spread of COVID-19,” said NYSG’s Marine Fisheries Specialist Antoinette Clemetson, based at Stony Brook and one of the leads for this project. “NYSG is pleased to make these signs available to remind both crew and angler passengers about simple actions they can use to help fight this virus. Captains who operate these for hire vessels can visit our website to request a COVID-19 sign kit, while supplies last.”
Clemetson’s co-lead, NYSG’s Coastal Recreation and Tourism Specialist Dave White, is based at SUNY Oswego.
NYSG Seafood Specialist Mike Ciaramella is working with seafood producers to ensure that they have the ability and understanding of how to alter marketing strategies quickly and effectively.
The goal is to provide clarity, as Ciaramella explains: “While a variety of resources exist outlining best practices and alternative strategies for marketing seafood products, the specifics of marketing within every state varies significantly due to differences in infrastructure and regulations.”
The guidance documents to be produced will hopefully allow NY Seafood producers to be more resilient to changing market demands, like those faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
NYSG, a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York, is one of 34 university-based programs under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Sea Grant College Program. Since 1971, NYSG has represented a statewide network of integrated research, education and extension services promoting coastal community economic vitality, environmental sustainability and citizen awareness and understanding about the State’s marine and Great Lakes resources.
Through NYSG’s efforts, the combined talents of university scientists and extension specialists help develop and transfer science-based information to many coastal user groups — businesses and industries, federal, state and local government decision-makers and agency managers, educators, the media and the interested public.
The program maintains Great Lakes offices at Cornell University, SUNY Buffalo, SUNY Oswego and the Wayne County Cooperative Extension office in Newark. In the State’s marine waters, NYSG has offices at Stony Brook University, Brooklyn College and Cornell Cooperative Extension in NYC and Kingston in the Hudson Valley.
To sign up for NYSG’s e-newsletter, NY Coastlines, visit seagrant.sunysb.edu/nycoastlines.