In an announcement that sounds like it was pulled from the script of a James Bond movie, the New York State Governor's office recently declared an increase of "shark-monitoring drones" that will be deployed on downstate beaches, and some of their features are out of this world.

There have already been numerous shark sightings in the state this summer, and five New York swimmers all reported shark bites within a recent two-day period. The increased usage of drones, the governor's office says, is all part of their plan to "[ensure] local beaches are safe for all beachgoers", thanks to their emergency response capacities, thermal imaging, and even lasers.

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Shark-Monitoring Drones in New York State

Shark-monitoring drones have already been in service on Long Island, NY, but the new influx of devices is meant to equip more beaches with the technology that can help spot sharks before they get too close to state park swimmers. It's more than just cameras on these drones, however, that make them so useful.

Increased shark sightings in New York has spurred an increased presence of shark-monitoring drones (MASAHIRO_NOGUCHI_NY via Canva)
Increased shark sightings in New York has spurred an increased presence of shark-monitoring drones (MASAHIRO_NOGUCHI_NY via Canva)
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Drones with Lasers and Thermal Imaging Coming to New York

One "large enterprise model" drone that is part of the new program will be used by Park Police. This exceptional machine boasts "thermal imaging, laser range finding, and high-quality cameras to allow for night-time surveillance and patrols in adverse weather conditions", as well as the ability to "drop personal flotation devices in emergency situations ".

New York Drone Operator Training

While not every drone has such top-of-the-line technology, the state still needs qualified operators to fly each new addition. The recently-announced program not only provides the physical drones, but will provide the budget to properly certify more operators as well. In addition to shark spotting by drone, other safety measures can also be taken in to consideration. From the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC):

• Avoid areas with seals
• Avoid areas with schools of fish, splashing fish, or diving seabirds
• Avoid swimming at dusk, night and dawn
• Avoid murky water
• Swim, paddle, and surf in groups
• Stay close to shore, where your feet can touch the bottom
• Always follow the instructions of lifeguards and Parks' staff

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Despite increased shark sightings, shark attacks are still very rare in New York state. Even with such low chances of an encounter, however, following the above guidelines can help ensure a safe and happy summer swimming season. Check out New York sharks below, and keep scrolling to find 100% shark-free swimming in local lakes and ponds.

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