03/24/13 3:00pm
03/24/2013 3:00 PM
Long Isand's Peconic Baykeeper

PECONIC BAYKEEPER COURTESY PHOTO | Kevin McAllister in his boat, ‘The Kathy.’

Fifteen years ago, at about this very time, water lover Kevin McAllister launched a local nonprofit dedicated to protecting the Peconic and South Shore bay systems on Long Island’s East End.

That was when he became the Peconic Baykeeper.

His organization and self-appointed title affords him the opportunity to protect the waters he respects so much by creating awareness and doing his part to fight against environmental threats to the bay waters, whether those threats come from man or Mother Nature.

Armed with a master’s degree in coastal zone management, and a donated boat he christened “The Kathy,” Mr. McAllister became the watchdog of all things water between the North and South forks and beyond. Over the years, he’s campaigned for and against many issues when it came to the bays.

But during that time, as boats tend to do, “The Kathy” started to wear. And now she’s in need of a facelift.

The boat, a 1970’s Dyer needs new electronics and work done to its body. The steering also needs to be restored after damage sustained from Hurricane Sandy, Mr. McAllister said.

He also hopes to get radar for the boat — for the first time.

“It’s kind of my right arm,” said Mr. McAllister. “It’s been 15 years since there has been any investment of time or money into the Kathy.”

To finance the upgrades, he’s started an effort to raise the $25,000 needed to fix and upgrade  the boat. He is still in need of $10,000 more.

“I think the important aspect of Peconic Baykeeper is having eyes on the water, frequently,” Mr. McAllister said. “Not only seeing what’s going on but the ability to respond within a couple hours notice to a sewage spill or a storm response, such as post hurricane Sandy. I was out there quite a bit.”

Should he reach his goals, Mr. McAllister hopes to launch upgraded Kathy sometime next month.

In a restored boat, he said, “Hopefully I’ll be blessed to have another 15 more.”

Click here to contact the Baykeeper.

cmiller@timesreview.com