Marine Bureau Helps Rescue Endangered Sea Turtle North of Harbor

Officers assist in rescue of turtle one mile north of Mt. Sinai Harbor.

An endangered sea turtle was rescued in the Long Island Sound one mile north of Mt. Sinai Harbor Monday night with the assistance of the Suffolk County Police Marine Bureau.

Marine Bureau Police Officers David Goldstein and Matthew Funaro received information from a boat via the VHF radio that a very large sea turtle was entangled in the lines of several lobster pots at 8:40 p.m Monday. The officers received this message while on routine patrol in the Long Island Sound.

The turtle was located approximately ten minutes later by the officers and it appeared to be in distress, having difficulty breathing. The officers maneuvered their boat and attempted to free the turtle from the lines. They managed to free one of its flippers, but were unable to remove the remaining lines due to the turtle’s size and agitated state.

The officers requested assistance from Marine Bureau Police Officers Michael Cappiello and Matthew Wargas, who transported personnel from the Riverhead Foundation’s Rescue Program from the shore to the scene.

Julika Wocial, Riverhead Foundation’s Rescue Program Supervisor and Kimberly Durham, Rescue Program Director, worked with the Marine Bureau officers for over three hours and eventually freed the turtle using lights, cutting tools and poles.

According to Wocial and Durham, the turtle was a Leatherback sea turtle at least six feet long weighing an estimated 1000 pounds. They also reported that the particular species is on the endangered list and that the sea turtle was a female of breeding age, making the rescue extremely important, according to police.

Reports state that once freed, the turtle appeared to calm down and it swam away on its own without further incident. The marine bureau encourages all boaters to immediately report any sightings of stranded or entangled marine life.

Brian July 31, 2012 at 03:30 PM
Cool story. Great work guys! Tom - One great thing about our country is that we do take care of our people who have fallen on hard times. It's what the democratic party has been fighting for and what this country is all about. A safety net of government assistance is a good way to invest in our country and it's people.
Thomas Lynch July 31, 2012 at 04:46 PM
A slight correcton to the timeline. The initial report was made by John Baker and crew of s/v Raggamuffin during the Monday night Mt. Sinai Sailing Association "double handed" race series. They called USCG Sector Long Island Sound and reported the Lat and Long of the distressed turtle and stayed on scene until the Suffolk unit arrived. The USCG contacted the Suffolk Marine unit who came from Port Jefferson. Mr. Baker is an avid outdoorsman and successful sailboat racer and knew when the saw the entangled and distressed animal they had to lend aid.
will finamore July 31, 2012 at 07:16 PM
Good job scpd marine division
John L. Baker July 31, 2012 at 08:43 PM
I am grateful to the Riverhead Foundation and the Suffolk Marine Bureau for responding. John Baker S/V Raggamuffin
WOODY11780 August 04, 2012 at 11:34 AM


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