Coast Guard, local agencies assist disoriented boater near Fire Island Inlet

USCG File Photo

NEW YORK – Crewmembers from Coast Guard Station Fire Island and members of the Suffolk County Police Department assisted a disoriented boater near Fire Island Inlet, New York, Wednesday morning.

At 2:25 a.m., Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound command center watchstanders received a call from Suffolk County Police Department dispatch regarding a disoriented mariner aboard an anchored 56-foot vessel, the Phoenix.

Sector watchstanders contacted the owner of the Phoenix via cell phone, who stated he was trying to navigate through Fire Island Inlet when he became disoriented and anchored his vessel off Democrat Point on Fire Island, N.Y. He also stated that he had no navigation equipment or VHF radio onboard, and had concerns with the weather.

Sector Long Island Sound command center watchstanders issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast and launched a 47-foot Motor Life Boat (MLB) from Station Fire Island.  Suffolk County Marine X-Ray & Suffolk County aviation also responded.

All responding units arrived on scene in approximately one hour and found the Phoenix underway.

The station MLB and Suffolk Marine X-ray vessel escorted the Phoenix through Fire Island Inlet while Suffolk County aviation illuminated the way allowing all vessels to arrive safely at Phoenix Robert Moses Boat Basin in Babylon, N.Y.

“Two major concerns that come to mind in this case are fatigue and the lack of communication,” said Lt. Matthew Richards, public affairs officer of Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound. “A day spent on a boat can be relaxing, however, prolonged boating spent in the sun, combined with noise, vibration, wind, and glare can have the same intoxicating effects on a person as alcohol or drugs. You wouldn’t operate a vehicle while intoxicated or fatigued, a boat is no different. While boaters may feel safe operating their vessel with just a cell phone, the Coast Guard strongly encourages marine-band radios set to channel 16 for all boaters in case of distress.”

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