Local Boater Rescued off NJ Coast

Tuesday, July 08, 2003
A local Coast Guard unit rescued a disorientated boater this morning off the New Jersey coast ending a two-day search. A phone call to Coast Guard Group Atlantic City yesterday at approximately 5 p.m. by the wife of the disorientated boater stated that Ron Cichonski, 36, of Brigantine, N.J., called from his cell phone stating he was running out of fuel, his compass inoperable, could not see land and asking her to call the Coast Guard for help. Because Cichonski's cell phone was not working and he did not have a marine radio, the preferred and more reliable method for communicating distress to the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard only had a vague idea where to search resulting in a large search area and many rescue craft to cover a 50-miles by 50-miles search area off the N.J. coast. Rescue helicopters from Coast Guard Group Air Station Atlantic City, rescue boats from Coast Guard Station Atlantic City, a C-130 aircraft from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City as well units from the New Jersey State Police, Brigantine and Ocean City police departments all searched for Cichonski yesterday and this morning. On the first search this morning a rescue helicopter located Cichonski 25-miles east of Beach Haven. Cichonski was in good condition and not in distress. A Sea Tow vessel took Cichonski and his 20-foot vessel into port. "We searched over 2,500 square miles, about twice the size of Rhode Island, for Mr. Cichonski. The important thing is that he is safe, but with the proper use of a marine radio or flares he may have been found much sooner," said CDR Joseph Kelly, Operations Officer for Group Air Station Atlantic City.
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