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Underwater security sweep for Sailfest

New London

NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH)–Preparations are underway for this weekend’s Sailfest, which begins Friday. While vendors are setting up along the waterfront, state police divers were in the water.

Working in teams of four, 12 state police divers inspected the piers and seawall along New London‘s waterfront.

“The clarity of the water is actually fairly good so they have a couple of feet of visibility,” said Det. Steve Chapman, the Commander of the State Police dive team. “Normally you don’t see anything; it’s just jet black so you have to get very close on your object. That’s why the sonar provides an added level of detection for us.”

“I think it was quite impressive,” said Skip Wildrick of Waterford. “They were very thorough. They had their dry suits on. It was really interesting.”

With hundreds of thousands of visitors expected throughout the weekend the divers are trying to make sure Sailfest is fun and safe.

“Looking for any type of parasitic or IED type devices,” said Chapman.

State police divers do these types of sweeps before every big event along the New London waterfront. Today they checked city pier, custom house pier, and Fort Trumbull.

“I think it’s a great precaution,” said Wildrick.

“We’ll be here this weekend,” said Bill Zaneski of Waterford.

Zaneski is a diver himself and is glad to see this underwater security sweep.

“Absolutely. Anytime there’s extra security with a lot of people especially in today’s time you just don’t know what can happen,” said Zaneski.

“That’s the idea of the whole thing I believe,” said Wildrick. “Have a good time, be safe, be kind to your neighbor.”

New London police will continue to keep the area secure. State police will also be working with the Coast Guard to monitor boats in the harbor.

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