Darien marine division rescues 16-year-old boater
DARIEN — The Darien Police Marine Division rescued a 16-year-old whose boat died while out on a ride in cold weather.
On Feb. 1 around 6 p.m., police received a call from the boater’s brother, saying the 16-year-old had gone for a short ride around 4:30 p.m. but had not yet returned home. The brother said he tried to call the boy’s cell phone several times, but the phone was off.
The marine division and Noroton Fire Boat were dispatched to the Long Neck Point area. There, they met with the subject’s father, who was trying to see if he could spot the missing 21-foot Mako boat from the shore.
Police boarded the patrol vessel, the Darien 127, and notified the U.S. Cost Guard of the situation. While exiting the harbor, officers activated an infrared camera and almost immediately spotted the missing boat. Officers used high-powered LED lights to illuminate the area and confirm it was the missing boat.
The operator, the missing 16-year-old, explained the boat had broken down two hours earlier and he was forced to anchor. He told police his phone battery died and his radio was not hooked up, so he could not contact anyone. The teenager fired off three flares and then laid down on the boat to keep warm, as the temperature was around 35 degrees and dropping. Despite that, he did not require any medical attention.
It was later determined the boater had the proper licensing and was not in violation of any boating regulations. However, he was advised to better prepare before going out in dangerous weather, as he could have suffered hypothermia had he been out longer.
The infrared camera and lighting systems used in the operation are new, part of the equipment and technology package donated by the Darien Foundation for the new vessel, which went into service in October 2016.