WHFD Responds to Marine Incident in Block Island Sound
By Lieutenant Christopher Koretski
July 6, 2019

On Saturday July 6 at 9:58 am the Watch Hill Fire Department received a call in the Westerly Regional Dispatch Center from the United States Coast Guard reporting a 40' boat was in distress and taking on water off Watch Hill. WHFD members quickly responded and launched Marine 101 within 4 minutes of the call with 3 members aboard the boat. The crew communicated with the US Coast Guard and several good Samaritan vessels in the area via radio all attempting to assist. However, the dense fog hampered the efforts of some neighboring good Samaritan vessels. The vessel in distress from Mystic, had contacted the Coast Guard reporting his engine room was filling with water and his electronics were giving out. He also reported he and his passengers all had on their life jackets and were transferring to their dingy raft for safety until help arrived.

Within 12 minutes the Watch Hill Fire Department arrived on the scene of the vessel off Watch Hill Point in Block Island Sound. Also on the scene were vessels from Tow Boat US, Sea Tow, and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Police assisting the mariner. WHFD firefighters spoke to the occupants of the boat who reported no personal injury. The salvage companies were assisting the owner with dewatering and eventually towed the boat to a safe port. The United States Coast Guard also responded to the scene in their 45' response vessel from New London. Marine 101 was released by the USCG after providing a safety zone around the incident in the fog for approximately 35 minutes.

Watch Hill Firefighters and other responding agencies performed admirably in the dense morning fog conditions socking in the entire area. From the initial reports it was clear that this was a life and death emergency for the people aboard the sinking boat. Thanks to their quick communications, their use of Personal Flotation Devices, the location of their dingy, and the response of both good smartians and the responding emergency ageincies, this incident had a positive outcome.

In total 10 Watch Hill Firefighters responded to the incident. Marine 101 returned to the dock at approximately 11:30 am. An Ambulance from the Westerly Ambulance Corps and Officers from the Westerly Police Department both stood by in the Village in case they were needed to assist the occupants of the vessel. No injuries were reported and they were able to clear to handle other emergencies on what turned out to be a busy summer day for all of our agencies. Another job well done by the members of the Watch Hill Fire Department!

Check out The Westerly Sun Article below also for more information.

Units: Marine 101, Squad 100, Truck 100, Car 101
Mutual Aid: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Police, Westerly Ambulance, Westerly Police, US Coast Guard, Sea Tow, Tow Boat US
Hyperlinks: Westerly Sun Article