The Suffolk County Legislature voted Tuesday to create a Marine Industry Revitalization Advisory Council to boost an industry “decimated” by superstorm Sandy and in urgent need of skilled workers, dredging of waterways and water quality watchdogs.
The measure, sponsored by Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory (D-Copiague), goes on to Suffolk Executive Steve Bellone, who Gregory said is expected to sign it. A Bellone spokesman said the county executive was “reviewing the bill.”
The council, which will have no budget, will bring together government officials, educational leaders, tourism advocates, environmentalists and private industry to tackle problems facing the $1.6 billion Suffolk marine industry.
Gregory said the committee will work to make sure there’s “always public access” to waterways, that dredging work is conducted to keep waterways accessible, there’s an adequate number of “boat mechanics” and other workers and that efforts to promote the industry in Suffolk continue.
Marine industry executives say the council is necessary. From 2006 to 2016, registrations for vessels with motors dropped 20 percent on Long Island, Newsday has reported.
“A lot of marinas are getting sold to developers” after superstorm Sandy “decimated our industry,” said Eric Kreuter, general manager of Moriches Boat & Motor in East Moriches, who expects to sit on the council.
The council will seek technical assistance from federal and state agencies, environmental organizations and workforce development experts to buoy the industry.
The council will have county legislative representatives and county labor, public works and economic development staffers.
It will have two representatives from the Association of Marine Industries, one from the Cornell Cooperative Extension and a representative of the commercial fishing industry.
The panel also will have two representatives of Suffolk BOCES.
“It’s about the economy and jobs and keeping the water clean,” said Legis. Al Krupski (D-Southold).