The crew and passengers aboard the ferry Islander rescued Johnny Goodwin
, of Southhold, N.Y., within minutes of falling into the cold waters of Gardiners Bay from a work barge on Dec. 19.
A combination of skillful seamanship, adherence to Coast Guard safety regulations blended to save Goodwin's life.
The Islander and three other ferries from the North Ferry Co.
connect Shelter Island with Greenport, on Long Island. The ferries make the two nautical mile round trip from early morning to late night. The Islander was taking a full load of passengers and vehicles to Long Island at dusk when Goodwin fell.
One of the passengers aboard the ferry saw Goodwin and alerted ferry captain Edward J. Clark and deckhand, Bridgford Hunt, of Shelter Island, said Julie Ben-Susan, assistant general manager at North Ferry Co.
During the rescue, two other of the company's ferries blocked off the scene from other traffic, used their floodlights to help Clark and Hunt and used their radios to relay information to a 911 operator and to the North Ferry Co. offices.
Goodwin was taken to Eastern Long Island Hospital and released two hours later.
Goodwin's rescue is the third by a ferry crew in the Connecticut/Long Island area in the past eight months, said Coast Guard Lt. Comdr. Patrick "P.J."Maguire, who heads the service's Prevention Department in New Haven, Conn.
"It is due to their training and skill that they were able to [rescue Goodwin]," said Petty officer William Reimer, at Coast Guard station Montauk, N.Y. "Thank God they were in the right place at the right time. A life was saved-in the end, that's what it's all about."