Tragic weekend in Northeast reminds boaters to prepare and stay safe

1st Coast Guard District News
NEW YORK – After a tragic and busy weekend throughout the Northeast, the Coast Guard is reminding the boating public to practice safe boating as the weather warms.

The following cases indicate the importance of preparedness and serve as strong examples of how challenging the maritime environment can be even to experienced mariners.

A rescue boatcrew from Coast Guard Station Shinnecock, N.Y., responded to a report from a 57-foot lobster boat that a crewman was having difficulty breathing, Sunday. After the crewman stopped breathing, a Coast Guard EMT and crewmember went aboard to assist with CPR. The patient was transferred to awaiting EMS at the Oakland Mariana and transported to South Hampton Hospital where he was pronounced deceased.

Coast Guard and local agencies launched a massive search for Ciro Stellges, 59, after the Riverhead Police Department received a call from an individual aboard a 26-foot sailing vessel stating it was taking on water approximately three miles north of Jacobs Point, N.Y., Sunday. The Coast Guard Cutter Tiger Shark located Stellges deceased near Duck Pond Point, N.Y., after responders searched for more than 19 hours covering more than 400 square miles.

Coast Guard Station New London’s boatcrew rescued a 12-year-old girl from the waters near Ocean Beach in New London, Conn., Sunday. The ferry John H reported observing the girl and her dog getting ejected from their canoe as it capsized. A ferry crewmember deployed a life ring to the girl who was not wearing a lifejacket. The boatcrew recovered the girl who was showing signs of shock and hypothermia. She was brought back to shore and transferred to awaiting emergency medical services. She and the dog later reunited.

A rescue boatcrew from Coast Guard Station New Haven, Conn., responded to a distressed boater aboard a 19-foot recreational vessel that was reportedly taking on water due to a crack in the boat, Saturday. The Coast Guard took the vessel in tow, and transited with the vessel to the Pequonock Yacht Club in New Haven.

A boarding officer from Coast Guard Station Eatons Neck,N.Y., terminated the voyage of a recreational boater, Saturday, following a vessel safety examination which indicated the vessel carried no fire extinguisher, no life jackets, no flares, and no registration.

Coast Guard Station East Moriches responded to a recreational boater lost due to the fog, Friday, by establishing communications with the vessel and advising the owner to remain in his current location and anchor until the Coast Guard could provide assistance. Additionally, watchstanders from Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound in New Haven, Conn., maintained a 30-minute communications schedule with the boater until Station East Moriches boatcrew located, escorted, and safely moored the vessel at their station.

Each year, Coast Guard crews in the Northeast conduct 2,500 search and rescue cases and save 350 lives. With more than 2,000 miles of shoreline to guard, First Coast Guard District crews remind boaters to wear their lifejackets and be prepared. For more information, visit

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