An Oakdale couple heading home from Kismet on Fire Island Sunday night were killed after their boat collided with another vessel. The woman was found inside the capsized boat, and the man was located in the Great South Bay Monday morning. NewsdayTV's Steve Langford reports. Credit: Newsday/James Carbone; Gary Licker; Paul Mazza

An Oakdale couple was killed Sunday night after their boat collided with another vessel and capsized in the Great South Bay, according to Suffolk police.

Louis DeRitis, 53, was operating a 27-foot 1989 OC/MA boat about 10:40 p.m. when it collided with a 44-foot 1989 Henriques Sport Fisherman, north of Ocean Bay Park, between North Channel and Range Channel, police said.

The OC/MA capsized and DeRitis was ejected into the water. His wife, Renee DeRitis, 50, was found in the boat’s cabin by rescue divers and pronounced dead at the scene. There were four passengers aboard the other boat on a fishing trip and none were injured in the collision, police said.

Louis DeRitis' body was found Monday morning near the crash scene by Suffolk County Police Marine Bureau officers and members of the United States Coast Guard, police said. Earlier, the search for DeRitis had been called off after an hour spent looking for him in the darkness, fire officials said.

Both vessels were impounded for safety checks.

William Scrima, Suffolk police deputy chief of patrol, said the crash was “not a criminal incident.”

The crash Sunday night took place north of Ocean Bay Park, between North Channel and Range Channel, police said. Credit: Newsday

“It's just a tragic accident and our condolences and sympathies go out to the family members and friends,” he said.

Scrima said police “have no reason to believe there were any drugs or alcohol involved.”

The couple was leaving Kismet on Fire Island and was due back in Oakdale at the time of the crash, Scrima said during a news conference Monday in Yaphank.

The Henrique Sport Fisherman, the larger of the two boats, was headed southwest in the bay when the eastbound OC/MA “abruptly” turned into its path, Scrima said.

He did not say how fast either vessel was traveling but noted the larger boat couldn’t go faster than about 20 knots.

The captain of the Sport Fisherman as well as a passerby on land both called 911 to report the crash, Scrima said.

Scrima could not say whether Renee DeRitis died of injuries suffered during the crash or if she drowned.

At a separate news briefing, Roy Ekelund Jr., chief of the Bay Shore Fire Department, said his department received a call for help at 10:40 p.m. from the captain of a ferryboat while people involved in the crash called 911.

“Once we got on the scene we deployed a service rescue swimmer from Islip's fireboat,” he said. “They conducted a search in the water and with a side scan sonar with a negative result.”

A second diver located Renee DeRitis in the cabin of the vessel, Ekelund said. The boat was overturned with the stern in the mud.

“It’s very difficult over there,” he said. “The channels are ever changing … the current is very fast over there. If you're not paying attention to the buoys, if you're not paying attention to the channel markers, it gets very dicey.”

Ekelund said the conditions were clear but windy and the current was coming in, making it difficult for the divers.

Suffolk County police at a Great River marina Monday near...

Suffolk County police at a Great River marina Monday near a boat that capsized Sunday night after colliding with another vessel in the Great South Bay. Credit: James Carbone

“It’s a shame that they happen on these weekends … It's a shame to happen at all, ever,” he said. “With the ever changing currents, if you don't know what's going on, it's very dangerous.”

The rescue was a coordinated effort that included teams from Bayport, Bay Shore, East Islip, Islip, Lindenhurst, Ocean Bay Park and West Islip, he said.

There were more than 60 boating accidents in Suffolk County in 2022, including 16 on the Great South Bay, according to the state's 2022 Recreational Boating Report. There were 13 accidents in Nassau County. Across New York State there were 28 fatal boating accidents in 2022, including five in Suffolk County. There were no fatalities in Nassau County.

Statistics showed that from 2012 to 2022, recreational boating deaths averaged 22 per year. From 1970 to 1990, recreational boating deaths averaged 62 per year, the state said.

Scrima reminded residents to stay vigilant on the water.

“Boating safety is just as important as vehicle safety, if not more so, especially on a busy weekend like this weekend,” he said.

Detectives are asking anyone with information on the crash to call the Third Squad at 631-854-8352.

With Lisa L. Colangelo

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