Coast Guard Assists Sinking Vessel off Long Island, NY


Coast Guard Station Jones Beach assisted a fishing vessel in distress with 4 people aboard off Jones Inlet, New York, on Monday night, September 2.

Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound watchstanders received a “mayday” call on VHF FM Channel 16 from the Terry Lee, a 46′ commercial fishing vessel, at 9:35 p.m. The vessel’s operator reported they were disabled and rapidly taking on water approximately 1 mile east of Jones Inlet through a ruptured pipe below decks and needed assistance.

Coast Guard communication watch standers at Sector Long Island Sound utilized their Rescue 21 radio direction finding equipment to pinpoint the location of the distressed vessel. Sector Long Island Sound issued an urgent marine information broadcast requesting any mariners in the vicinity help if possible.  A Coast Guard Station Jones Beach 47′  motor lifeboat crew and Hempstead Bay Constables responded along with marine and aviation units from the Nassau County Police.  A Nassau County Police helicopter first sighted the vessel, confirmed their position, and guided the Coast Guard responders to them.

On scene, 2 Coast Guard members boarded the Terry Lee and began to assist the crew in dewatering the vessel.  Once the flooding was under control, the Coast Guard towed the vessel and crew to safety at Point Lookout.

“The vessel operator did the right thing by notifying the Coast Guard as soon as the situation on board became untenable,” said Cmdr.  Jonathan Theel, the Chief of Response at Sector Long Island Sound. “It is better for the Coast Guard to be involved early, rather than having to search for mariners in the water after they have had to abandon ship.”

After the necessary repairs were made and the source of the incoming water, a defective bilge pump, was secured, a Coast Guard engineer helped the Terry Lee crew restart the engines and the vessel was able to resume operations and return under their own power to their homeport.