UPDATED: Woman Rescued from Sinking Boat in Springs

Fire chief thinks the weight of the snow on the boat may have contributed to it taking on water on Monday at 4 a.m.

Springs firefighters saved a woman off a house boat that was sinking into the icy waters of Three Mile Harbor in the early morning hours on Monday.

"It's the kind of call you expect in the summer, not in the middle of winter after a snow storm," Springs Fire Department Chief Ben Miller said.

After firefighters were called to Gardiner's Marina at 4:11 a.m., Miller said they found a woman standing barefoot on the boat's snowy deck. "It was going down real fast," he said of the boat, which estimated between 30 to 35-feet.

The boat, which was tied up to the dock, was titled to the left side, pulling away from the dock. According to an incident report police filed, a man who had been on board with the woman tried to leap from the boat to the dock, but fell into the icy water. He managed to pull himself up to the dock, and then flagged down police. 

Firefighters stretched a ladder from the dock to the boat. East Hampton Town Police Officer Denis Shea crawled across it to get to the woman and help bring her to dry land, according to Second Assistant Chief David M. King.

With temperatures at 25 degrees in East Hampton, the woman was taken to Southampton Hospital for possible hypothermia, Miller said. While her current condition was not immediately known, he said she seemed to just need a place to get warm after standing outside for 15 minutes. The man refused medical attention, police said.

The chief said that the snow on the top of the boat after the blizzard may have caused it to take on water. The pair had been asleep when the house boat began taking on water, he believed.

The head of the harbor, as well as water in the marina, was frozen.

A contractor is in the process of removing the boat from the water, according to Marine Patrol Chief Ed Michels.

The fire department, which responded with two engines, the heavy rescue truck, and the ambulance, as well as about 35 firefighters, was back in the firehouse in about 45 minutes.

The East Hampton Townwide Hazmat team, under the supervision of the East Hampton Fire Marshal's office, also responded, to assess the boat for leaking fuel in the frozen harbor. Chief David (Buzzy) Browne was not immediately available for comment.

Miller said he advised Coast Guard Station Montauk of the situation, but because the boat was tied up at the dock, officers did not respond with a vessel.

Pamela Schenck February 11, 2013 at 07:24 PM
Heard the sirens and wondered what went wrong. My husband was driving by the marina after dropping friends at the Jitney and he said there were all sorts of emergency personnel on site. Hope the lady is on the mend.
CUL8R February 11, 2013 at 07:39 PM
Is it legal to live on a house boat in east Hampton?
jperrier February 11, 2013 at 10:44 PM
I believe the lady that owns the boat has a nice apartment in NYC, so she should be OK. I think she only visits the boat on weekends - don't know why you'd pick a miserable blizzard like this one, though.
ViralGrain February 11, 2013 at 10:58 PM
Its probably illegal since it falls under the the ban of things that might be cool and fun.
CUL8R February 12, 2013 at 12:09 AM
Or almost kill yourself and dump gallons of fuel oil and sewage into the harbor that they can't get to due to the ice. Now thats cool and fun
"Pride of Bonac" February 12, 2013 at 12:10 AM
No wonder the head of the harbor is closed for shellfishing because of POLUTION --Where is the pump out boat in the winter? There is none
CUL8R February 12, 2013 at 12:25 AM
You can't get the pump out boat through the ice, there shouldn't be anyone liven on a boat to need a pumpout
ViralGrain February 12, 2013 at 12:47 AM
Living on a house boat at least part time does sound pretty cool to me. Proper provisions should of been taken however accidents happen. The lady might just have been concerned for her boat because of the storm. As for the polution yea it sucks. But why don't you take a flight about a 1000 feet in the air in August and witness your self the red tide and other pollutants bellowing into the channels from estates lining the estuaries. You would have to see it to believe it. Its heart breaking. Out of sight out of mind I guess. So yea this was bad for the environment, but there are also far worse things polluting our waters that are not merely accidental that are not being addressed that have far worse consequences then this. Glad the lady is O.K. and before any fines are written they should go and take a good look at what the fertilizers and chlorines and all the other pollutants that are being saturated into our waters by the large and small estates and go fine them first.
CUL8R February 12, 2013 at 01:02 AM
I agree all the pollutants from estates and houses should be stopped and all house close to the bay should have holding tank because human waste is the cause of the brown and red tide, as for this situation I believe three is a law in place and it should be inforced. I am sick of this towns selected enforcement, I am very happy the lady is OK but this is no accident, did u see the picture of all the snow and ice on the top of that house boat, it sunk due to ignorance
tom February 12, 2013 at 04:02 PM
There's another story here somewhere.
CUL8R February 13, 2013 at 01:46 AM
Yeah the people that own the marinas are letting people live on boats against town law to make money and almost killed a person and dumped all sorts of sewage and fuel in to our harbor, greed and selective enforcement
CUL8R February 13, 2013 at 08:33 PM
To sleep on a boat that top heavy with snow and ice is ignorate and why should emergancy personal risk there life's for some one that shouldn't be there, and yes I agree fuel is accedent for any boat boat that sinks. But look at the picture there are no dooms around it to stop the spread but to I just found out that boat had no bathroom or sewer tank. So where is the human waste goin and who said sue just stop stop breaking town laws and polluting the harbor, so spending a weekend on a boat and shitting and pissen into the harbor is not cool. So be it
tm February 13, 2013 at 08:59 PM
I never do this, but your grasp of the english language and basic grammar is appalling.
CUL8R February 13, 2013 at 09:32 PM
I did take the time, maybe its not ignorance but simple neglagence if that's the case the profession marina should not allowed a person to stay over nite in such dangerous condisions, oh right people pick and choose what laws they follow. Or maybe the law is in place for safety reasons. And still where did the person do there business? The harbor? How many more situations are are just like this, the town should investigate so no one else life is in danger or sewage in the harbors. And haha my gammer is horrable, I am part of the spell check generation, sorry wish I had the opition
CUL8R February 13, 2013 at 09:44 PM
food for thought...Shouldn't someone who owns a boat know the risks and dangers of being on a boat in such weather conditions? Perhaps if the boat wasn't being illegally inhabited it would not have been docked at that marina...Perhaps if the marina owners helped to enforce the laws that keep people safe instead of being money hungry, this situation may never have been an issue? Fortunately the woman survived & hopefully lessons were learned and laws will be enforced. Unfortunately, a very vital & fragile body of water has been yet again harmed b/c of ignorance...
"Pride of Bonac" February 14, 2013 at 12:29 AM
To tm --- At least the guy is getting his point accross -- this is not an English class
local79 February 14, 2013 at 12:45 AM
This is Nathaniel Miller, East Hampton Town Trustee. I haven't accessed my account in over a year. Someone just brought to my attention that someone else just left a comment using my son's name and that I am posting comments as 'EHlocal'. That person's views are their own opinions and they have nothing to do with myself nor my account here on EH Patch. As for the person who made that comment, show yourself to this forum & quit hiding behind a false name, act like an adult!!
Fred V February 14, 2013 at 01:58 AM
The real question is who is EH Local? if you click on his or her name in Patch you can see the whole history of comments - and EH Local has comments that say he or she is a 13th generation bonacker who proudly posted that the biggest event for him or her in 2012 was the birth of his or her son, Jack Thomas. Just go look at the posts - and figure it out on your own.
CUL8R February 14, 2013 at 02:41 AM
I am not Nat Miller, I am not a trustee, my identity is of no ones business. I am simply stating my opinions and thoughts as others are also doing anonymously. I have no reason to explain who it is that I am. I am not assuming to know who any of you are that have also anonymously posted under fake names. So far Nat Miller & Mickey Miller are the only ones who have chosen to identify themselves & kudos to them for doing so, I however, do not wish to do so. Besides who cares who I am, I certainly don't care who you are.
local79 February 14, 2013 at 02:46 AM
I want to know who is using my sons name as a user now!! I believe this has become police matter
ViralGrain February 14, 2013 at 03:57 AM
I have an idea. This summer why don't we construct the biggest tent in the world and put it over the town to make this circus official. EH Local I agree with you. You are on point on this subject. The marina should be held accountable as should the boat owner. This is just stupid. If your going to leave a boat in the water during such conditions then you have to maintain it so it doesn't cause a issue like this. If the owner is being negligent for what ever reason in caring for the boat then it is absolutely the responsibility of the marina. The people at the marina are not novice boat handlers and should of known better even if some lady from the city didn't and should of taken action to prevent such a accident. Another case of more money then sense.
local79 February 14, 2013 at 05:14 AM
Thank you for the help but I am not eh local, I am Nat miller and always will be
Taylor K. Vecsey (Editor) February 14, 2013 at 05:41 AM
I know everyone likes to try to figure out who the commenters are who don't use their names . . . but please don't use the name of someone's child to antagonize them. I'm glad Nat Miller responded on here to answer the accusation that EH Local is NOT him, but he asked that his young son's name not be used.
TTTT February 14, 2013 at 01:14 PM
That's not necessarily fair. A lot of the nor'easter snow fell quickly and if they were asleep, they would not even have known it was on the boat's roof.
the eye February 14, 2013 at 08:42 PM
sure its springs ! all things illegal are no problem out there ! thats why the taxes are so hihg .
CUL8R February 14, 2013 at 10:24 PM
in Regards to TTTT's comment...they may have been asleep - but how could they not have known there was a bad storm happening, its not like the storm crept in during the middle of the night. If you are a boat owner and even more so if you are LIVING (illegally or not) on a boat in the middle of winter you should be well aware of the weather and its potential for danger.
Martha Nassauer February 15, 2013 at 02:23 AM
I am not familiar with the winter boating codes of EH, but I did read that at least one Marina at Three Mile Harbor offers restrooms and showers, and advertises on their website "The basin is very quiet, bordered with reserves on three sides, making it perfect for sleeping overnight on your vessel." This sounds great, if it is not breaking any Town codes. Bubble systems are used frequently for boats that remain in the slip to prevent ice damage. Portable refuse systems are also available for sanitation purposes. Luckily nobody was injured in the making of this adventure gone amiss.
CUL8R February 15, 2013 at 02:42 PM
It is in the town code that floating homes are prohibited.
CUL8R February 15, 2013 at 02:43 PM
Article II section 246-16
ehehe February 25, 2013 at 06:35 PM
I'm not at all surprised that this floating junkpile sunk. I took a walk by there 2-3 weeks prior to this incident and noticed the boat had a broken window on the dockside, which had not been repaired. It seemed overall quite old and poorly maintained. Anyone leaving a boat in the water over the winter should know to clear ice and snow, and should maintain everything to the highest standard. Not only is your life at risk, but also the lives of rescuers who must respond to a situation you put them in. You can see the oil floating in the ice and slush in these photos. When a vessel goes down, the owner is responsible for the salvage and cleanup costs.


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