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Dec 21, 2008 12:31 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Ocean rescue succeeds despite snowstorm

Dec 21, 2008 12:31 PM

Four sailors whose boat was caught in an offshore snowstorm seven miles south of Block Island were rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard and taken to Montauk early Saturday morning.

The 45-foot sailboat Moonshine left East Greenwich, Rhode Island, on Friday morning and was en route to Puerto Rico, despite widely circulated reports of an approaching major winter storm.

The snowstorm Friday evening ripped the boat’s sails and disabled its engine, as winds raged between 30 and 40 knots and the seas rose to between 8 and 12 feet, according to reports from the Coast Guard. Visibility at that time was less than one mile. The water temperature at the time was 42 degrees.

The rescue effort began after the sailors activated their emergency position indicating radio beacon late Friday night. The Coast Guard’s 1st District Command Center in Boston responded to the signal, launching a 47-foot motor lifeboat crew from Point Judith, Rhode Island, and a helicopter crew from Air Station Cape Cod.

The lifeboat responded to the scene at about 1 a.m., but its crew did not discover the sailboat in the midst of the storm until the crew of the sailboat shot off a signal flare.

The lifeboat towed the Moonshine to Montauk, where the sailboat and its crew were placed in the hands of Coast Guard personnel from U.S. Coast Guard Station Montauk. After seven hours of towing, the boat reached shore in Montauk at roughly 9 a.m. on Saturday.

A Coast Guard personnel member who answered the phone at Station Montauk Saturday evening said that the sailors were “doing fine.”

BETH YOUNG

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What an ordeal for the Coast Guard - The whole night at sea risking their lives in a fierce Winter storm searching out four knotheads who never should been out there to begin with, given the ample storm warnings over the previous few days.
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I'd like to read some quotes from the rescued sailors - I hope they are feeling suitably humiliated and not crowing about their great adventure.

But most of all, thanks to the Coast Guard. No matter how stupid we are, they are there for ...more
By Sag (54), Sag harbor on Dec 23, 08 9:40 AM
SEMPER PARATUS " ALWAYS READY "
By ELECTRICUTIONER (65), east islip/montauk on Dec 24, 08 2:45 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By EG (8), 11937 on Dec 30, 08 7:04 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By EG (8), 11937 on Dec 30, 08 7:04 PM
Like aircraft, does the captain file a plan as to which and what and where they are going? Should not a maritime watchdog agency, similar to the FAA, approve or disapprove the plan?
Also, is their some kind of penalty for unsafe travel as there is for automobiles and aircraft?
We have wasted and over extended enough of our fine Service people in this country.
Need I be anymore explicit?

By fazool (22), Southampton on Dec 31, 08 8:42 PM
Hopefully the four will have to reimburse the Coast Guard for the time and money spent on the rescue. If not, their boat should be taken and sold to cover the expense-they've already proven that they don't have the judgement to operate it properly. Thank God no members of the Coast Guard were injured in the rescue. Kudos to the Coast Guard-another job well done !
By Avatar (15), Westhampton Beach on Jan 1, 09 3:57 PM
They WILL have to reimburse the CG for resuce costs. And yes, smart captians, although not required to, will file a "float plan" before making passage. These sailors were obviously not goot mariners or else they never would have left port. If you're heading south for the season, it's a bit late to start that trip anyway. October is the time.
By Undertow (64), Southampton on Jan 2, 09 8:14 AM