Around the Island

Friday Night Dialogues: Going the distance

Shelter Islanders Tom Cronin and Toby Green will share stories of their record-breaking ski jet journey at the Shelter Island Public Library on Friday, Oct. 25, at 7 p.m. as part of the Friday Night Dialogue series.

It’s likely that you’ve read about Tom Cronin and Toby Green’s adventure this past summer. The duo have a lot of friends and supporters on the Island. The lifelong pals traveled the open ocean from Wades Beach to Key West, Fla. on specially rigged Yamaha jet skis to set a Guinness World Record for the longest jet ski trip (3,300 miles). More critically, the two have raised over $30,000 to date for the Scleroderma Foundation through donations made via the website Scleroderma is a chronic connective tissue disease from which Mr. Cronin’s great-niece, Julia Ceresnak, 8 years old, suffers. There is currently no cure for the disease which affects approximately 300,000 Americans according to the Scleroderma Foundation.

Last Sept. 11, the friends went around the Statue of Liberty, stopped at the World Trade Center and back to Shelter Island on jet skis. When they decided to go for the Guinness World Record, Mr. Cronin’s wife Susan suggested they make the trip a fundraiser for Julia. Sea Tow and South Ferry signed on as sponsors.

The friends rode two 2019 Yamaha FX Cruiser SVHO Jet Skis, with onboard GPS, headlights, bilge pumps, a second battery, USB charging ports, bluetooth and a secondary 60-gallon fuel tank. 

Their determination and persistence were tested by lack of sleep, giant waves, lightning, and lack of food. Too tired to eat, both lost several pounds on the trip. They slept in tents on beaches, on floating docks and in the homes of generous strangers. Sponsor Sea Tow came to the rescue a few times when the jet skis were beached overnight.

Both men developed rashes from sun poisoning and salt water. They were constantly wet. Mr. Green’s skin was in such bad condition that a doctor in Key West strongly suggested he stay out of the salt water to avoid reopening wounds.

With grit and determination, Mr. Cronin made the rest of the trip solo, which he admitted, was “a little scary.” Having “gone the distance,” Mr. Cronin came home to a hero’s welcome from his family and many friends.  

Join Mr. Cronin and Mr. Green on Friday, Oct. 25, at 7 p.m. to hear about their adventure. Their talk is sure to be both exciting and inspiring.

Up next: Acclaimed trial attorney Jay Goldberg on “The Courtroom Is My Theater: My Lifelong Representation of Famous Politicians, Industrialists, Entertainers, ‘Men of Honor,’ and More” on Nov. 8 at 7 p.m.