A Greenport man safely swam to shore after a wave rocked his 17-foot boat, tossing him into the water and leaving the boat circling unmanned in Southold Bay near Crescent Beach, according to Southold Town police.
Police received a call from a Greenport resident reporting a man screaming for help shortly after 1 a.m. Saturday. The caller was unsure if the man was in the water or on land. Responding officers were able to hear a man yelling for help somewhere west of Conkling Point in Greenport. They could also hear what they believed to be a boat going in circles in the vicinity of Camp Quinipet on Shelter Island and requested assistance from Shelter Island Police.
Shelter Island officers confirmed the noise was a runaway vessel with no driver.
Marine units from Southold and Shelter Island police and Southold and Shelter Island fire departments were dispatched to search for the missing boater. The U.S. Coast Guard also dispatched a cutter from Mattituck and helicopter.
At about 2:15 a.m., the driver of the boat, Matthew Kapell, 38, safely swam to shore at Bay Home Road in Southold and was able to contact his family, police said. Mr. Kapell was found in good condition with no injuries.
Mr. Kapell told police he pulled up his anchor and was heading to the beach at Crescent Beach to pick up his relatives when a wave rocked the boat, pitching him into the water.
The boat was eventually disabled by a Southold Marine unit with the assistance of Sea Tow, police said. Sea Tow managed to tow the vessel, a Key West center console, to its Southold facility, police said.
Mr. Kapell was reunited with his family members with the help of the Southold marine unit.