DARIEN, Conn. — A 16-year-old Darien boater was found in his anchored and broken down boat safe and sound but was lectured by police to be better prepared the next time he goes boating — especially in February, Darien Police said in a statement Friday.
Police said that the teen's brother called them at 6 p.m. Wednesday to say the 16-year-old had gone out for a short boat ride at 4:30 p.m. and hadn't returned yet.
The caller said he attempted to call his brother’s cellphone numerous times but his it was turned off, police said. The Darien Police Marine Division and Noroton Fire Boat were then dispatched to find him.
As officers arrived to the Long Neck Point area, they met with the 16-year-old's father, who was trying to spot the vessel from shore, police said. The teen's father stated that the vessel was a 21-foot Mako center console boat.
Once officers were onboard “Darien 127,” the Darien Police patrol vessel, the U.S. Coast Guard was notified, police said. As “Darien 127” left the harbor, officers activated the vessel’s FLIR (Forward Looking Infrared) camera.
Almost immediately, officers saw a small vessel matching the description of the Mako. Using remote-controlled search and high-powered LED flood lights, the officers were able to illuminate the area and confirmed that the vessel they located was, in fact, the one that had been reported missing.
Officers found the 16-year-old in the boat who said the boat had broken down and that he had been forced to anchor, police said. His phone battery had died and his VHF radio was not hooked up, police said.
After firing off three flares, the teen said he decided to lie down in the boat to try to keep warm, police said. Although the outside temperature was only 35 degrees and dropping, the 16-year-old did not require any medical attention, police said. Police said hypothermia could have set in if the teen had been out longer.
The teen was taken aboard the police boat, and the Mako was towed to the Darien Boat Club.
The Coast Guard and Noroton Fire Department were then notified that their assistance was not needed. The teen was properly licensed and wasn't in violation of any boating regulations, police said.