CAPE MAY — Coast Guard crews rushed Tuesday morning after a disturbing report from a walker on Wildwood Crest Beach that 10 life jackets had washed up on shore with no one in sight.
The Coast Guard began the initial search near Cape May Point with a 45-foot response boat, combing the shore for signs of debris, station commander Lt. Daniel Nelson said.
The boat was found about 400 yards off Cape May Beach, in the area known as Poverty Beach, east of town, not far from the Coast Guard Training Center. It was sunk about two feet below the waterline, Nelson said.
They were able to identify the owner of the boat and Coast Guard officials made contact. Nelson said the owner moored the boat off the beach before sunset on Monday evening and there was no one on board at the time.
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The vessel had apparently capsized and sunk overnight.
The Coast Guard has not identified the owner. Nelson described the ship as a cruise ship but did not know the ship’s size. Cabin cruisers are usually between 25 and 45 feet long. According to Nelson, a small part of the bow could be seen above the water.
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Questions remain, Nelson said, including why the owner moored the boat off the beach. Tuesday morning, the boat remained where it sank.
“The owner is trying to come up with a salvage plan for the ship,” Nelson said.
The call came in around 7.25am on Tuesday morning and the vessel was found at 9.30am.
New Jersey State Police officials said the incident is under investigation, according to a post on its official Twitter page Tuesday afternoon.
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