Fire Department Rescue Swimmers Save Man In Distress In Dramatic Ocean Rescue.
By Ex Chief Bill Renzetti
October 15, 2021

It was just before 7pm on Thursday when Suffolk County 911 received a call for a swimmer in distress in the Atlantic Ocean off the Smithpoint County Park.

The Mastic Beach Fire Department and the Marine Incident Response team was immediately dispatched to respond.

While firefighters were responding to their boats additional information was being relayed to the Mastic Beach Fire Chief that the male was being pulled further out in the ocean and could no longer be seen from shore. It was also reported that the male was not wearing a personal flotation device.

Suffolk County Police also launched their helicopter and marine unit to assist rescue teams in locating the individual in the dark ocean waters.

While the Mastic Beach Fire Department was launching their jet ski with a rescue swimmer off Smithpoint Beach, the rest of the Marine Incident Response team from Center Moriches, East Moriches, Eastport, and Mastic Fire departments headed through the Moriches Inlet into the Atlantic Ocean.

Within minutes Suffolk County Police Aviation located the male drifting approximately one-half mile offshore. The helicopter immediately dropped 2 rescue sticks by the distressed swimmer. These rescue sticks deploy into personal flotation devices upon contact with water. A strobe light also activates to aide rescuers in locating the victim in the dark.

Mastic Beach Fire Department jet ski and Center Moriches Fire boat were first on scene and were guided to the victim’s location by the SCPD helicopter. Within15 minutes of the 911 call the Mastic Beach man was removed from the water onto the Center Moriches Fire Department boat where he was immediately evaluated by an EMT for any injuries.

He was brought to the East Moriches Coast Guard Station where an ambulance was waiting to transport him to a local hospital for further evaluation.

This is the second time within a month the newly formed Marine Incident Response Team has had a direct impact on the survival of individuals in distress in our local waters. In September, 5 people were rescued from the Moriches Bay when their small boat overturned in rough waters.