Milliganesque Accident Avoided at Greenport Harbor, Long Island NY

At Greenport Harbor, Long Island New York on Monday morning 15 September 2014, the operator of a 37 foot high speed boat, referred to as a cigarette boat, with six on board lost control of the boat at full throttle. All six men were ejected. None were wearing life jackets.

The boat began to circle “like a missile on the water” per rescuers. The boat was wildly circling at about 20 miles per hour in the Circle of Death.

Patrick O’Halloran, off duty Coast Guard, took a boat out to the men bobbing in the water. His family members helped pull them in using a fishing net.

Garret Moore of SeaTow rode out to the accident with Bill Barker, also of SeaTow. They talked about trying to throw a line in the water to snag the propeller and slow the boat. When they arrived at the spinning vessel, one of its engines had stopped. They discussed the possibility of Garret jumping into the boat and decided to try that approach. Garret Moore was successful and brought the circling boat under control.

Of the six men on the cigarette boat, one injured some ribs, and all six had symptoms of hypothermia. They were treated and released at the scene.

No charges were filed in the accident.

We would especially like to thank The Suffolk Times for their excellent coverage of this accident in their 18 September 2014 article titled, Like a Missile on the Water – Rescuers Recount Boating Accident.

The quick work by rescuers help prevent the six men from being repeatedly struck by the boat and or propeller.

We noticed little coverage of this accident and no mention of the Milligan accident in comparison and decided to chime in.

99.99 percent of the people in the United States are still oblivious to the Nicholas Milligan family’s accident at Padstow Harbor UK in May 2013. A family of 6 was ejected from a high horsepower inflatable RIB, the boat circled, the father and a daughter were killed, the mother and son each lost a leg, and two other daughters were terrified.

The Milligan accident received tremendous press in the UK for many days, then again for several days at certain points in the investigation, the release of the report, and at the recent tremendously successful fund raiser for two UK charities.

UK boaters were energized on the kill switch issue (they call them kill cords) with the debate reaching previously unseen heights. BBC ran a special segment sounding in on and covering the kill cord issue, several UK boating periodicals devoted significant coverage to the issue, and a national campaign to require the use of kill cords was launched.

At least one previous UK propeller safety advocate re-entered the mix, re-energized and helped promote the cause. Several other propeller safety advocates spoke up and participated in various ways.

We just find it odd, that few recognized the gravity of what was avoided in Greenport Harbor. We encourage those six men to live their lives like they are gifts from above, because if not for their quick rescue, the story could have ended much differently.

We would also like to thank those who helped from the Coast Guard and especially thank SeaTow who has responded to countless accidents and helped rescue victims before things become worse.

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