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Missing windsurfer found a day later

October 12, 2019

A windsurfer who went missing Oct. 10 in Rehoboth Bay was found the next morning in Long Neck, officials say.

The man had gone windsurfing in the evening on the Rehoboth Bay side of Tower Road south of Dewey Beach, said Michael Globetti, spokesman for the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.

Teams of searchers with the Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police, Dewey Beach Police Department, Delaware State Police, Delaware State Police Aviation, USCG Station Indian River, and USCG Aviation responded to the area after the man was reported missing. The man was found uninjured at 7:45 a.m. Oct. 11 in Bay City off Long Neck, Globetti said. Police with Fish & Wildlife drove him to his car.

Globetti said the man told police that his sail disconnected from his board and could not be reset. The man had a whistle but it could not be heard while he was on the water; he floated in the water for about six hours until he reached Bay City, where he was able to safely reach shore, Globetti said.

The man was wearing a life jacket, required for safety, Globetti. Although his whistle did not work, Globetti said, windsurfers and kiteboarders are required to have a whistle or horn that they can sound if in trouble.

The incident happened nearly a week after a Bear man was killed in Rehoboth Bay while kiteboarding. In addition to a life jacket and whistle, Globetti said windsurfers and kiteboarders should take additional precautions such as informing someone of their expected course and when they expect to return; not straying too far from shore; wearing a wetsuit to avoid hypothermia; looking out for and avoiding other vessels and their wakes, and staying aware that the sail can block their view of other vessels.