Coast Guard Rescues a Rower Attempting to Tow Fishing Vessel

NEW YORK- The Coast Guard rescued a man rowing a 9-foot Zodiac while trying to tow a 35-foot fishing vessel about 250 yards south of Bayberry Point near Bay Shore, N.Y., at about 11 a.m. today.

Louis Pasquale, 35, of Seaford, N.Y., was attempting to tow his 35-foot fishing vessel Barbara Ann from Bay Shore, N.Y., about 20 miles to Freeport, N.Y. He reportedly started towing the Barbara Ann at 5:30 this morning from the East Islip Marina, but only managed about 100 yards in three hours when both the Coast Guard and Islip Harbor Police stopped him. Pasquale was not wearing a life jacket when rescuers arrived on scene.

A Coast Guard Station Fire Island rescue boat crew towed the vessel, a hazard to navigation within the North Channel, to roughly 100 yards from Bayberry Point and directed Pasquale to anchor. They then took him onto the Coast Guard rescue boat, took the Zodiac in a side tow, and took both to shore near the Bayberry East canal.

“This is one of the most unsafe things I may have ever seen a boater do, trying to tow a 35-foot vessel 20 miles in strong currents by paddling a 9-foot Zodiac,” said Lt. Steven Koch, Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound command duty watch officer. “Not only did Pasquale only go 100 yards in three hours, but he wasn’t even wearing a life jacket when we stopped him.”

Islip Harbor Police notified Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound at 8 a.m. that Pasquale had taken his fishing vessel from the East Islip Marina in Bay Shore, NY.

Coast Guard Station Fire Island and Islip Harbor Police rescue crews arrived on scene at about 8:40 a.m. and found Pasquale still in his rowboat but alongside the fishing vessel taking a break. Rescue crews immediately instructed Pasquale to stay in his dinghy when he soon began another attempt at towing the Barbara Ann.

Islip Harbor Police further towed the vessel into East Islip Marina and issued Mr. Pasquale a New York State summons and a Town of Islip summons; both for Unsafe Operation and Hazard to Navigation.

“The Coast Guard strongly urges all boaters to wear a lifejacket anytime they’re on the water, especially for younger and weaker swimmers, and by all means seek a professional towing service if your boat can’t operate under its own power,” said Koch.

Eight out of 10 fatalities that occurred from boating incidents in 2005 involved people who were not wearing protective gear. Life jackets save lives.

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