WESTBROOK, Conn. (WTNH) -- The search off the coast of Westbrook for a Texas man who went missing after going for a swim was suspended Monday night.
The swimmer, who has not been identified, disappeared early Monday morning after he and some friends waded out to Salt Island during low tide Sunday night.
When the group headed back to the Water's Edge Inn and Resort around 1 a.m., one of them didn't make it back to shore.
The Coast Guard is assisting with the search, and they say they have been busy this holiday weekend.
One of the jobs the Coast Guard has to do is to look for a body in the water off the Connecticut shoreline. And it's happened way too many times this summer. A firefighter died in Stamford when he crashed his boat into a breakwall. A 66-year-old Pomfret woman died when a boat hit a rock.
"Mainly what we've seen is people not knowing the area that they're going out on, hitting rocks that they can't see at high tide normally, and that creates a lot of problems for us and them," said Petty Officer Tyler Fontaine of the U.S. Coast Guard.
Search and rescue is the last thing the Coast Guard wants to do. So the first thing they do is tell boaters exactly what safety gear they need to have on board and then go check boats to make sure they have it.
"I'm just looking for basic safety instruments that they have. Making sure they have life jackets," Fontaine said. "You can find a full list of what you need online, just look it up."
But it's not just the regular Coast Guard keeping an eye on everybody. It's also the Coast Guard Auxiliary patrolling the waterways.
"We do almost everything they do with the exception of law enforcement," said Bob Gesullo, from the Coast Guard Auxiliary. "We get similar training, we do a lot of augmentation work both at the stations and in the sector."
That means the auxiliary helps out on land and at sea because there is an awful lot of Long Island Sound shoreline harbors and rivers around Connecticut. The auxiliary provides even more eyes to keep us all safe.
"And at a very reasonable price because it's all volunteer. No one gets paid for it," Gesullo said. "The reward we get is helping the mission of the United State Coast Guard."
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