A family of eight from Huntington Station was rescued from the waters of Huntington Bay on Sunday after a large wave overturned their boat, trapping a 4-year-old child under the vessel, town officials said.
All of the occupants of the boat, including four adults and four children ages 1, 4, 5 and 10, were wearing life vests and brought safely to shore by the Town of Huntington team of bay constables, said Senior Harbormaster Fred Uvena. The family is now recovering, officials said.
The owner of the 16-foot boat, Jose Marco Moreira, 34, of Huntington Station, who was on board, was issued a summons for overcrowding. The vessel's capacity was six passengers, Uvena said.
Moreira and his family were on a day trip to Sand City in Northport Harbor when their boat got caught in a wake and took a "huge wave over the bow," immediately filling the vessel with water, Uvena said.
"Once the boat was filled with water, the equipment shifted; the people shifted and the boat rolls without a moment's notice," he said. "And when the boat rolled everyone ended up in the water."
Moreira's 4-year-old daughter was caught under the boat but was rescued by her father. She never lost consciousness, Uvena said.
The harbormaster received a call at 4 p.m. from a pleasure boat operator out of Norwalk, Connecticut, about the overturned boat. The good Samaritan almost immediately after the capsizing pulled the mother and 1-year-old out of the water while bay constables converged moments later and pulled the other six out of the water, Uvena said.
"He saved his children by making sure every one of those kids were wearing life jackets," said Uvena, who serves as interim director of the Town’s Department of Maritime Services. "He paid the price of a summons but kudos to him for making sure everyone on board was in life jackets because that's what saved them. If they weren't in life jackets we could have lost them."
The Halesite Fire Department brought the four children and two adults to Huntington Hospital for observation where they were treated and released.
"This boating emergency could have turned out very differently with overcrowding and a strong wave," said Huntington Town Supervisor Chad Lupinacci. "Boaters, heed the capacity limits on your vessel, always wear your life jackets and remember, you are responsible for your wake."