Docking dispute leads to Conn. man’s arrest - Soundings Online

Docking dispute leads to Conn. man’s arrest

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Charged after allegedly refusing to let a disabled boat under tow be tied up at his dock

Charged after allegedly refusing to let a disabled boat under tow be tied up at his dock

A South Glastonbury, Conn., man was arrested in September and charged with failing to assist police who were attempting to safely secure a disabled boat in the Connecticut River. Authorities say Walter Cesana, 52, untied the disabled boat that police had tied to his private dock.

At about 3 p.m. on July 3, Edwin Kosinski and Kevin Vandersloot, officers with the Cromwell Marine Patrol, were on their regular river patrol when they came upon a stalled 19-foot 1990 Bayliner in the middle of the channel, according to Marine Patrol supervisor Scott Lunt.

The officers spoke with the four people aboard and the skipper admitted he was not an experienced boater. Considering the disabled boat’s location in the channel and the changing weather conditions, Kosinski and Vandersloot called a commercial sea towing operation, but were unable to reach it. The officers decided to tow the boat to shore themselves.

“There were a number of boats on the water that day and the winds were changing, blowing against the current making white caps,” Lunt explains. “The people on board were nervous. We don’t normally like to take boats into tow but if there’s no other option, we will.”

Kosinski and Vandersloot tied the Bayliner to their own 21-foot boat and, with difficulty, towed the boat about a half-mile to the closest marina, a process that took about 30 minutes, Lunt says. It was another 20 minutes before Kosinski and Vandersloot could safely dock the boat, he says.

The officers were then confronted by Cesana, the dock owner, who told the officers he did not want the boat at his dock, Lunt says. Despite the officers’ explanation Cesana untied the boat and pushed it off into the river, he adds.

“We’ve never had an incident like this before,” Lunt says. “Isn’t it part of the basic mariner tradition to help a fellow boater in need of help? I guess the man was worried the owners of the boat would abandon it there. Who knows for sure?”

Kosinski and Vandersloot then took the boat into tow again and guided it nearly one mile to Seaboard Marina in South Glastonbury where the passengers were permitted to dock and call for help.

Cesana was expected to appear in Middlesex Superior Court on Oct. 25. He did not immediately return calls requesting his comment on the incident.