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Old 12-02-2004, 12:01 PM
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Default Coast Guard unit rescues Eastern Shore fisherman

Coast Guard unit rescues Eastern Shore fisherman
By JACK DORSEY, The Virginian-Pilot
An Eastern Shore clam fisherman was rescued Wednesday after strong winds pushed his disabled 20-foot boat ashore near Chincoteague.

It was the latest of four coastal rescues by Coast Guard and recreational vessels in the past two weeks. During that time, 10 people have been plucked from area waters.

Three of the incidents were at the entrance to Oregon Inlet, N.C., where waves capsized recreational fishing boats . In none of those cases were the fishermen wearing life jackets, the Coast Guard said.

In the clam boat incident, the fisherman was discovered about 8 a.m. by the fishing vessel Carpe Diem, which radioed the Coast Guard, saying a fisherman was stranded and his boat was swamped in the marsh on the southern point of Chincoteague Island.

Coast Guard Station Chincoteague launched a 23-foot rescue boat and recovered the fisherman while contending with 30-knot winds and choppy seas.

The man, who asked not to be identified, was a 45-year fishing veteran, the Coast Guard said. He was taken back to the Chincoteague station, where a corpsman checked him for signs of hypothermia. His wife later picked him up and took him home.

The latest capsizing near Oregon Inlet occurred about 9:30 a.m. on Saturday when four men in a 21-foot boat were dumped into the water, said Petty Officer 3rd Class Todd Midgett.

Because of two capsizings a week before, both of which involved fishermen , Mid?gett and his crew decided to check on boating traffic and conduct boat inspections in the area. There were 40 to 50 boats, most in the 19- to 25-foot range, fishing for striped bass, a favorite game fish this time of the year, he said.

?We were on scene maybe 10 minutes when they capsized about 500 yards away,? Midgett said.

All four men, including one who couldn?t swim, were found holding on to the lower unit of the motor as the capsized boat floated. Two were taken aboard another recreation boat and two swam to the Coast Guard boat.

Larger charter boats, in the 40-foot and higher range, are not having problems in the area, Todd said. They fish the area daily, know where the shoals are and can handle the waves.

?What is happening is that everybody is striper fishing and the best place to catch them is in the roughest water,? Todd said.
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