Shore Report

Man in Rowboat Headed for Scotland Rescued Off Jersey Shore by U.S. Coast Guard

Petty Officer 2nd Class Eric Thornton, right, a surfman at Coast Guard Station Barnegat Light, rescued Duncan Hutchison after he became beset by weather about 20 miles east of Barnegat Light. Credits: U.S. Coast Guard

BARNEGAT LIGHT, NJ — High winds and rough seas thwarted a 52-year-old man’s attempt to cross the Atlantic Ocean when he was rescued yesterday morning by a U.S. Coast Guard boat crew about 20 miles east of Barnegat Light.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay received radio notification at about 11:20 p.m. on June 4 from Duncan Hutchison, operator of the rowboat Sleipnir, that it was beset by bad weather, while attempting a transatlantic voyage from New York to Scotland, according to the Coast Guard.

A 47-foot motor lifeboat crew from Station Barnegat Light launched to respond, and once on the scene — with winds reported to be 21 mph and 8.5-foot seas — Hutchison was removed from the rowboat and transferred him to the lifeboat.

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“It was great to use my skills as a surfman to navigate the heavy seas and wind, and my crew did an outstanding job making this a successful rescue,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Eric Thornton, the lifeboat’s coxswain. “We highly recommended always checking the weather before departing on any ocean excursion because conditions can change instantly. Thankfully, the operator was well prepared and hailed us on his VHF marine radio on channel 16. We were able to pinpoint his location by using our Rescue 21 radio system, and that saved his life.”

Hutchinson was making the 3,500-mile voyage as part of a fundraising campaign for WaterAid, an international charity based in Scotland that promotes clean water and good hygiene.

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