When seasoned Montauk fisherman John Aldridge went overboard 40 miles off the tip of Long Island over the summer, a plan for his rescue was murky.
Several hours already passed when Mr. Aldridge’s fishing partner awoke to finding his crewmate missing, adrift somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean.
Coast Guard rescuers based in New Haven, Conn. scoured the region, with no luck.
They had been looking in the wrong area until Southold native and Coast Guard veteran Pete Winters, who now works as a civilian search-and-rescue controller, was able to piece together Mr. Aldridge’s location.
The rescue is detailed in a New York Times article “A Speck in the Sea,” which ran in last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine.
The piece describes Mr. Winters’ instinctive decision making based on his years as a commercial fisherman on the North Fork of Long Island, “like his grandfather and his uncle before him,” it states.
“This gave him an advantage when a search-and-rescue operation involved commercial fishermen, especially Long Island fishermen: He spoke their language,” the article states.
Mr. Winters’ and his family have a long history of serving and protecting the public on the East End. His father, Dan Winters, joined the Southold Police Department in 1957, worked his way up from sergeant to lieutenant and was named chief in 1981. He held that position until his retirement in 1991.