Coast Guard Rescues Injured Rower South Of Shinnecock Inlet


A Scottish man suffered a serious head injury roughly 50 miles south of the Shinnecock Inlet on Friday night while attempting a transatlantic rowing trip, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

Niall Iain MacDonald, 39, of Stornoway, Scotland, was traveling alone when he fell inside his boat and cut his head, according to MyeongHi Clegg, a Coast Guard spokeswoman. Mr. MacDonald alerted the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre in Falmouth, United Kingdom, which then notified the U.S. Coast Guard’s Atlantic area command center in Boston.

Mr. MacDonald was 50 nautical miles—or approximately 57 miles—from the Shinnecock Inlet when he fell and injured himself. He was found on his 24-foot ocean rowing craft, Alliance Trust, shortly after midnight Saturday by the Coast Guard Cutter Sailfish, which is based in Bayonne, New Jersey, and evaluated by an EMT. The EMT determined that Mr. MacDonald, whose face was covered in blood, could be transported to the cutter to be treated for injuries on his way back to New Jersey. He was then taken to Bayonne Medical Center, according to Ms. Clegg.

Mr. MacDonald has since been released from the hospital, a spokesperson confirmed on Tuesday.

“We only had about 50 feet of visibility, because the fog was so thick offshore, making it difficult to locate the boat,” said Lt. James Provost, commanding officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Sailfish. “We were communicating with the rower by satellite phone, and we had him vector us in by flashing a light.

“When we first came upon him, he was in a lot of pain,” Lt. Provost continued, noting that Mr. MacDonald suffered a laceration on his head. “He was very thankful that we were there to help him, and he was very relieved we were there.”

According to Mr. MacDonald’s website,, he was attempting to row from New York to Stornoway to raise funds for the Scottish Association For Mental Health. Mr. MacDonald began his solo row on Thursday, June 5, and left from Liberty Landing Marina in Jersey City. He rowed about 100 miles before injuring himself.

On his website, he estimated that he would complete the estimated 3,400-mile journey by September.

“Unfortunately, he had the accident, so I don’t think he’ll be attempting this for quite some time,” Ms. Clegg said.

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