Nassau County police on Wednesday morning rescued a man who was stranded for 17 hours on his fishing boat after it ran aground in waters off Long Beach, police said.
Suffering from hypothermia, the man pleaded for help over his cellphone minutes before his rescue, telling one of the responding cops, Marine Bureau Police Officer Michael Beard: “ ‘Please help me, please help me. I need your help. Come quick.’ ”
The man, 60, whose name police did not release, took his 20-foot 1976 Pro Line boat out for a solo fishing trip when it got stuck in a marsh about 3 p.m. Tuesday on the north side of Reynolds Channel near Duck Point, police said.
The man used his cellphone to call a friend Wednesday morning. He said he had tried to wait for high tide to try to get his boat off the marsh, but was apparently unsuccessful, police said.
The friend called police about 7:30 a.m.
Beard called the man’s cellphone as he and his colleagues, Officers Kevin Shannon and John Kannengeiser, in their police boat, went in search of him. As they got closer, the man didn’t answer the phone. And when they finally got to him, the man was huddled in the bow of the boat, which was in very shallow water, said Shannon. He was wearing thigh-high waders, several hats and multiple coats, but was unresponsive and shaking uncontrollably, said Shannon.
He was also vomiting — a sign of hypothermia, Shannon said. Police wrapped him in warm blankets and got him to the shore.
The U.S. Coast Guard, Long Beach Police and Long Beach Fire Department, which transported the man to the hospital, also assisted in the rescue, Nassau police said.
The man “is now recovering well and doing good,” said acting Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder, who praised the work of the officers and other first responders, and warned boaters to take safety precautions.
“[Weather] changes quickly; it goes from a beautiful, sunny day, to a cold evening,” said Ryder. “So if you’re going out on boat, make sure someone knows where you’re going. . . . Make sure you have your radio and flares, and make sure you have layers.”
Police said this time of year is the height of the fishing and clamming seasons on Long Island, making for a busy time for Marine Bureau officers.
“It’s what we do; it’s why we’re out there,” said Shannon. “People are under the impression the season is over after Labor Day and that couldn’t be further from the truth.”