Coast Guard and Ipswich authorities rescue overdue fisherman

Coast Guard District 1 NewsBOSTON — U.S. Coast Guard and Ipswich, Mass., fire and police department crews worked together to rescue a 38-year old man in Ipswich Bay about one mile northeast of the Annisquam River after he was reported overdue from his fishing trip, Monday.

Around 1 a.m., Monday, Ipswich police alerted Coast Guard Station Merrimack River in Newburyport, Mass., that the local fisherman had departed Ipswich Town Landing at 9 a.m., Sunday, for a daylong fishing trip in his 20-foot aluminum skiff and had not returned.

The fisherman’s wife and father told rescuers that he usually fishes near the southern entrance to Plum Island, Mass, and sometimes in the Ipswich Bay. He didn’t tell his family a definite time he planned on returning, but had made a similar trip the day prior and returned around 11 p.m.

“The information we received from the family was instrumental in finding the fisherman,” said Lt. Michael Wolfe, the command center chief at Coast Guard Sector Boston. “We can’t stress enough how helpful it is to tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll be back. They were able to tell us where he typically fishes which helped us create an effective search area.”

Coast Guard crews began issuing an urgent marine broadcast asking mariners in the area to keep a lookout for the fisherman and assist if possible. Two 47-foot Motor Lifeboats from Coast Guard Station Merrimack River, a 25-foot Response Boat-Small from Coast Guard Station Gloucester and an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod were dispatched to begin a search. The Ipswich Fire Department and Harbor Master, which is part of the Ipswich Police Department, also launched a search.

Approximately 30 minutes into the search, the Station Gloucester boatcrew located and rescued the man from the 62-degree water, alive and responsive. His boat was not found.

“We really want to thank the Ipswich Fire Department and Harbor Master marine units that searched Plum Island Sound and the Ipswich River with their shallow-water boats,” said Wolfe. “Their assistance was critical as it allowed us to search Ipswich Bay where the fisherman was ultimately found.”

The Coast Guard crew transported the fisherman to the Annisquam Yacht Club where they were met EMS who took the man to Addison Gilbert Hospital in Gloucester, Mass.

The man’s father told Coast Guard watchstanders that his son’s core body temperature was in the 80-degree range when he was brought to the hospital, but was up into the 90’s within an hour.

The fisherman reported that his boat capsized and he was in the water for approximately four hours before being rescued. He was not wearing a life jacket or survival suit.

“Boaters are reminded to use caution while boating, especially this late in the season,” said Wolfe. “Colder air and water temperatures significantly reduce the amount of time people can survive in the water. If you are out on the water, we highly recommend you wear a life jacket.”

Almost three-fourths of all fatal boating accident victims in 2010 drowned. Of those, 88 percent were not wearing a life jacket.

There was a small craft advisory in affect when the man was missing. This means that the wind speeds can cause hazardous wave conditions to those operating a small vessel. The Coast Guard recommends mariners in small vessels avoid navigating in these types of conditions.

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