05/25/14 8:00am
05/25/2014 8:00 AM
A modern painting depicting the October 1814 military engagement off Northville. (Credit: U.S. Coast Guard Academy Collection)

A modern painting depicting the October 1814 military engagement off Northville. (Credit: U.S. Coast Guard Academy Collection)

It’s 1814, and the United States is at war.

British frigates and brigs clog the East Coast’s trade routes, preying on merchant vessels and shutting down commerce.

On an October morning, an American cutter called the Eagle finds itself face-to-face with a Royal Navy brig nearly twice its size off Northville.

Below is a detailed account of the encounter that followed.  (more…)

05/18/14 5:00pm
05/18/2014 5:00 PM
Missing boater Daniel Strelczuk was last heard from shorly after 1 p.m. Saturday. (Credit: Adam Strelczuk, courtesy)

Missing boater Daniel Strelczuk was last heard from shorly after 1 p.m. Saturday. (Credit: Adam Strelczuk, courtesy)

Update: The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its active search for Daniel Strelczuk, 62, of Thompson, Conn. at 2:30 p.m. Sunday due to saturation of the search area and searching beyond the calculated survival time given the current conditions, a spokesperson said.  (more…)

05/05/14 12:24pm
Members of the U.S. Coast Guard boat into the Mattituck Inlet on Monday morning. (Credit: Joseph Pinciaro)

A group of U.S. Coast Guard members in Mattituck Inlet Monday morning with the body of the missing boater. (Credit: Joseph Pinciaro). (Credit: Joseph Pinciaro)

The U.S. Coast Guard recovered the body of a missing boater east of Mattituck Inlet Monday morning, one day after he was reported missing in the Long Island Sound, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.  (more…)

05/04/14 4:01pm
Police return to the shore after they were unable to locate a sailboat that had issued a distress call Sunday afternoon. (Credit: Grant Parpan)

A police boat returns to the shore after officers were unable to locate a sailboat that had issued a distress call Sunday afternoon. The U.S. Coast Guard is continuing the search. (Credit: Grant Parpan)

A missing person report is being filed for the owner of a sailboat that made a distress call from the Long Island Sound Sunday afternoon, according to a Riverhead Town police press release.

Ciro Stellges, 59, of Selden was operating a 26-foot fiberglass sailboat named “MAC” when he called 911 at around 1 p.m. and told police his boat was “taking on water,” officials said. The sailboat was built in 1977 by C&C Yachts and its registration number is NY7059FR, police said.

It’s possible Mr. Stellges made the distress call while his boat was sinking near Wading River beach, police said. He had left from Mattituck earlier in the day and was heading to Port Washington, officials said.

The Riverhead Police Dive Rescue Team and Suffolk County Police Department Aviation and Marine units searched for the sailboat, officials said, and Jamesport and Wading River fire departments were on standby.

The boat was not found after a more than 60-minute police boat search of the water, officials said. The police search was finally called off shortly after 2 p.m., but the Coast Guard confirmed at 3:30 p.m. that it is “in the process of conducting a search.”

An officer from the Coast Guard station in New London, Conn. said its search is focused three miles off the shore between Jamesport and Mattituck. The Coast Guard is using two 45-foot boats and a helicopter to search for the missing sailboat, an officer confirmed at 5:30 p.m.

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06/03/13 12:26pm
06/03/2013 12:26 PM
Suffolk Sheriff's new marine boat

COURTESY PHOTO | Marine 41 will be available to all East End marine units.

The Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office has purchased a custom-made, 41-foot emergency response ship equipped with high-tech features like side-scan sonar and forward-looking infrared cameras, allowing it to spy on bay and ocean bottoms and navigate through the night with the utmost confidence.

The vessel will be used by members of the East End Marine Task Force, established in 2007 to help coordinate marine units from across the East End. The task force includes sheriff’s deputies and U.S. Coast Guard officers. Marine law enforcement units from each of the five East End towns also signed a memorandum of agreement to share and standardize equipment and training.

The task force agreement allows participating personnel to cross town borders when needed, which “increases safety and keeps costs down,” said sheriff’s office’s marine unit commanding officer, Sgt. John Andrejack.

Sgt. Andrejack is tasked with overseeing and managing the new boat.

“I don’t know of any other vessels like this,” Sgt. Andrejack said.

The ship, Marine 41, is a C.B.R.N.E.-response vessel -— which stands for Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear and Explosive — outfitted with radar, chart plotters and a dual-screen GPS. The boat is designed to be able to respond to a nuclear, chemical or biological attack or accident.

It’s powered by twin Cummins Diesel motors and does not have propellers. The boat is instead propelled by Hamilton Jets, which allow it to operate in very shallow water (less than three feet), officials said. The cabin air is always purified, with no outside air circulated inside. If the boat enters an area with hazardous smoke and fumes, there is constant clean air in the cabin, official said.

Marine 41 has firefighting capability with a water pump that can move 2,000 gallons a minute. It also comes with a 500-pound Davit winch to lift and recover things from the water.

“This is the most well-equipped response boat in the area,” said Sgt. Andrejack, who was involved in acquiring, designing and equipping the craft.

Officers on the task force from all different towns will crew the ship, he said.

“This vessel is crewed by multiple agencies, used for whatever town may need it for any large event,” Sgt. Andrejack explained, giveing the annual Maritime Festival in Greenport as one example. “It can be transferred from town to town when and where it is needed.”

The sheriff’s office was able to make the purchase using a $1.2 million Federal Emergency Management Agency Port Security Grant, officials said. The grant also allowed for the purchase of personal radiation protectors and 40 strong exposure suits that can be used to protect officers during severe storms or harsh winter weather, both to be distributed to members of the East End Marine Task Force.

The boat also came with a survival raft, EMT equipment and is able accommodate a patient on a backboard.

Marine 41 and all the on-board equipment cost $650,000.

A full-scale training exercise was recently performed on the boat. That simulation exercise, based on an actual recent event, involved a fishing vessel had dredged up hazardous material that the crew had to “decontaminate” before towing the vessel back to shore.

“A vessel of this capability was lacking in the region and the citizens of the East End deserve the capability and protection this asset provides,” Sgt. Andrejack said.

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05/18/13 8:00am
05/18/2013 8:00 AM

Ready, set, wear it! East Enders Saturday will attempt to break a world record for the most life jackets worn at one time.

Strong’s Marine in Mattituck will host the event to kick off National Safe Boating Week, which runs from May 18 though 24. The annual Ready, Set, Wear It campaign, sponsored by the National Safe Boating Council, hopes to raise awareness about the importance of wearing life jackets.

Last year in New York, the U.S. Coast Guard reported that in 85 percent of fatal drowning cases victims were not wearing a life jacket.

“Some people think it’s macho not to wear a life jacket,” Peconic Bay Power Squadron member Len Llewellyn said. “They don’t realize what could happen if they go overboard.”

This is the second year members of the local squadron will try to break the record. A photo will be taken to document the world record attempt at noon.

“If you own a life jacket come on down and get in the picture,” Mr. Llewellyn said.

The Peconic Bay Power Squadron will be on hand from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m to conduct safety inspections and answer questions about boating safety.

“Anything you want to know and you’ve been afraid to ask these people will be able to answer,” Mr. Llewellyn said.

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