A steel-hulled fishing vessel out of Montauk named Act I began sinking Wednesday morning about five nautical miles south of Watch Hill, R.I., east of Fishers Island. The Coast Guard Station in Montauk was called to assist.
"A good amount of water was coming into the vessel from what the captain described," said Lt. Anthony Kostek of the Coast Guard Command Center, Long Island Sound Sector. "We were able to dewater to a point where it was deemed safe to get back underway. We're currently shadowing the vessel to a station in Rhode Island." It took three pumps to remove enough water to right the ship, he said.
It was unclear what caused the tear in the hull, but Lieutenant Kostek said the Coast Guard's main concern was for the safety of the three men on board. "There was some chatter over the radio that we overheard. At first we thought it was a mechanical problem."
When the Coast Guard reached the boat, the water level was rising quickly. "It was teetering to the point where they'd have to abandon ship," said the lieutenant. While the winds out at sea were calm, with waves only about one foot, the water temperature is only about 55 degrees. "It doesn't take long before you go into a hypothermic state at those temperatures," he said, adding that a nearby good Samaritan fishing boat also helped with the rescue.