Inflatable raft credited with saving Middletown man at sea for a week

New London

GROTON & NORWICH, Conn. (WTNH) – No one expects to run into trouble when they head out on the water. But certainly being prepared for it can save a life.

22 year old Nathan Carman of Middletown had an inflatable raft on board his 31 foot aluminum fishing boat named Chicken Pox and the Coast Guard says that most likely saved his life.

“He said that the ship was taking on water, he got the life raft, he looked for his mom to get into the life raft, couldn’t find her that was it,” says U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Nicole Groll who met with reporters in Boston.

Carman who was alone in the raft was found a week later on Sunday by the freighter Orient Lucky about a hundred miles south of Martha’s Vineyard. His 54 year old mother Linda Carman is still missing.

“The chances of her being alive are minimal,” says Groll.

Sara Rodgers who works at Thayer’s Marine in Norwich is not necessarily surprised Nathan Carmen was able to survive for a week at sea.

“I mean he’s young so he’s resilient,” says Rodgers. “But it goes to show being out of the water in something dry can save your life.”

Rodgers keeps an inflatable raft on the back her boat docked at a Groton marina.

“I feel a hundred times safer knowing that I have this in case something should break down on the boat or we run aground,” says Rodgers.

Others have rafts that instantly inflate in case of emergency. Making those who need to be rescued more visible.

“Recreational boats are required to have safety equipment on board,” says Groll. “A life raft is part of that equipment.”

Boaters should also have life jackets, flares, and a marine radio on board, and file a float plan like Linda Carman did so others know if help is needed.

“Linda Carman told her friend that she was going out and what time she was supposed to be back,” says Groll.

She says Nathan Carman was found in the life boat wearing a life vest with food and water with him. Without those provisions Groll says he might not have survived the week.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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