Just off Long Island’s coast in New York, a positive change is happening in the waters. Warmer temperatures and cleaner conditions are attracting more small fish and their predators, including sharks. While this benefits the ecosystem, it also raises safety concerns for beachgoers. To address this, officials at Jones Beach, a popular state park with six million annual visitors, are turning to drones for safety monitoring. Lifeguards and New York State Park Police are using drones to watch the waters closely. If sharks or unusual behaviors are spotted, swimmers are quickly alerted to stay near the shore.

The drone program, launched in 2017, is gaining importance due to recent shark-related incidents on New York’s beaches this summer. Though shark attacks are unlikely, these events prompt a proactive approach. Jones Beach employs 19 drones managed by lifeguards, supported by a mobile command center. These drones have advanced cameras that capture underwater images from 25 feet high, aiding in potential dangers and search and rescue efforts. Despite their costs, authorities view drones as vital for beachgoer safety. Drone operations strictly follow guidelines prioritizing public safety and privacy.