On Aug. 27, the Glen Cove City Council meeting started off with a continuation of the public hearing regarding the safety hazards for fishermen using the Morgan Park jetty.
Mayor Timothy Tenke proposed an ordinance during the July 23 meeting, which would prohibit fishing off of the jetty. This ordnance follows a string of complaints from the city police department as well as firefighters due to the amount of fisherman getting stranded at the jetty.
The jetty can be potentially dangerous for fishermen who go out and are unaware of when high tide will approach. During high tide, the water comes up and surrounds the jetty causing fishermen to become stranded, often times needing local first responders to provide a water rescue. Tenke stated these rescues are putting the first responders at a great risk.
Earlier this month, the Glen Cove Harbor Patrol noticed a group of men in distress on the jetty. According to the Harbor Patrol, the men were fishing and became stranded by the rising tide. At the time of the rescue, the water was calm, which allowed the Harbor Patrol to get close enough to pick them up without needing to provide a more dangerous water rescue.
According to city officials, a majority of the people who get stuck on the jetty are not residents of Glen Cove and that particular instance earlier this month was not the first time people have had to be rescued off of it.
Last September, the Record Pilot reported about 24 fishermen who had to be rescued off of the jetty after high tide left them stranded. A massive rescue effort was launched by the Nassau County Marine Bureau, the Fire Department of New York Marine, the Glen Cove Police Department Marine Boat, Glen Cove Fire Department and EMS. Fortunately, the rescue crews were able to safely transport all 24 fishermen to the Glen Cove Yacht Club. No injuries were reported. The article stated the men were from the Queens area and this was their first time fishing off of the jetty. They were not aware of the rising tides.
“We are concerned about having to do all these rescues and putting our first responders at risk every time we need to rescue people off of the jetty,” Tenke said at the meeting. “So it is a concern. Obviously fisherman who are familiar with the jetty can agree that if you don’t get off there and you’re not familiar with [the jetty], it can be a very dangerous place.”
One resident questioned why the city is taking on the liability of having to provide a rescue boat to the stranded fishermen when the Kings Point Coast Guard will send a boat over if it’s needed.
Although the Harbor itself is owned by the Army Corps of Engineers, the city of Glen Cove controls access to the jetty from Morgan Park. The mayor stated this is the reason they have been sending out their own boats.
Glen Howard, another resident pointed out that the jetty was designed to be walked on but that if people are getting hurt then they aren’t being careful. Howard warned the city council to do their research regarding the proper jurisdiction for the property, which is leased by the city, but is owned by the Morgan Estate.
“That property is supposed to be available for anyone to walk on,” Howard said. “How can you stop somebody from walking across the jetty when they are allowed to walk across the park?”
Another resident, Frank Pena, suggested adding more rocks or cement to the jetty to keep it above water during the high tide.
Tenke announced that patrols will be increased to keep people from accessing the jetty. The police department will also be checking the residences of those who are fishing on the jetty to make sure they are residents of the city. The police department may write summonses to people who are seen fishing off the jetty. A gate will also be closed off from the yacht club to prevent access to the jetty.
According to the mayor, the city is looking to do further research before a final decision will be made.
Morgan Memorial Park is located at 262-298 Landing Rd. in Glen Cove. The park has a picnic area, a bathing beach, a playground and a concession stand, as well as walkways which provide a scenic view of the harbor.