Tuckerton fisherman believed dead at sea Boat found empty 3 miles off Barnegat
By TRISTAN SCHWEIGER Staff Writer, (609) 978-2015
Published: Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Updated: Tuesday, November 15, 2005
TUCKERTON-The U.S. Coast Guard abandoned the search for a missing Tuckerton boater Sunday morning, with a Coast Guard spokesman saying there was little hope the man is still alive.
Robert Woodring, 68, was reported missing to the Coast Guard at approximately 6:20 p.m. Saturday, according to Coast Guard spokesman John Edwards. Searchers located Woodring's boat, a 22-foot vessel named "Woody," in the ocean approximately three miles northeast of Barnegat Township, but Woodring was not aboard, according to Edwards.
The Coast Guard suspended the search Sunday as the chances of finding Woodring alive slimmed.
"We surmised that with that water temperature (56 degrees), and Mr. Woodring's age, and other factors, we estimated survivability would have been about six hours," Edwards said.
Seas were relatively calm Saturday, Edwards said, and Woodring's son, Robert Woodring Jr., said his father was an experienced and cautious fisherman.
Woodring Jr. said his father generally returns from fishing trips in the midafternoon, but that family members decided to give him a couple hours before reporting him missing.
"He's actually been fishing these bays since the '50s ... and it's not uncommon for him to go out fishing by himself," he said.
Woodring's son said he guessed that something caused his father to fall overboard early Saturday afternoon and that he was then unable to get back onto the vessel. He also said that his father didn't have any medical conditions that could help explain what happened.
"He was a good man, he was a good family man, he was a good father to me," said Woodring Jr., his voice cracking with emotion, reached via telephone Monday.
Neighbors saw Woodring leaving in his boat Saturday morning, according to Lt. Michael Caputo of the Tuckerton Police. Woodring Jr. said that a couple fish were found in the cooler on board.
"He always used boats that were safe," the son said. "That's why it's such a shock."