Coast Guard crews rescue distressed boater near Bellport, N.Y.

1st Coast Guard District News
NEW YORK – Coast Guard crews rescued a boater in distress near Bellport, N.Y., who was reported missing for nearly 12 hours.

Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound Command Center received a call from a 911 dispatcher, stating that the boater’s wife was concerned when her husband departed at approximately 1:30 P.M. on Wednesday and intended to be back at dusk but hadn’t returned.

The missing boater was located by a Suffolk County helicopter. Coast Guard Station Fire Island launched a rescue boat and Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod sent a helicopter to the scene. Station Fire Island was able to deploy a radio to the subject to keep a line of communication open.

Derek Schleede, 53, a Brookhaven, N.Y., native, went out on his 23-foot center console in the vicinity of Bellport, when his vessel became disabled and ran aground in three inches of water. He had a generator onboard to keep himself warm and intended to wait for the tide in order to drift toward the rescue assets.

Twenty minutes passed and the closest asset was still 400 yards away, so Schleede opted to be hoisted to safety. The subject secured his anchor and the helicopter lifted the man from his vessel to safety.

Schleede was taken to the parking lot at Smith Point County Park in Shirley, where he was examined by an Emergency Medical Services team and did not require further treatment.

“Last night demonstrates how crucial it is to be prepared while boating in the winter months. Filing a float plan provides the Coast Guard and other responding agencies a quick way to locate a vessel if they run into trouble,” said Lt. Matthew R. Vanderslice, pilot, Air Station Cape Cod. “Also important is preparing for the cold conditions. It’s tempting to leave the pier with just enough gear for a short trip, but if your engine fails, you need to be ready to spend hours in cold, windy conditions.”

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