Last passage

What can I possibly say about an 85-year-old fisherman lost at sea?

Stian Stiansen was recovered on a Long Island beach a couple of hours after his 45-foot trawler Pauline IV capsized in rough waters just outside New York’s Shinnecock Inlet.

Stiansen was rushed to the hospital, but he never recovered. Survivor Scott Finne, 42, was picked up by a rescue boat and remarkably had no injuries. He says he looked for his friend and fishing partner when he came to the surface after the boat rolled, but could not find him in the rough surf that was pushing the Pauline IV away from him.

My first reaction upon seeing the headline was, “Not another East Coast boat.” Once I learned Stiansen’s age, I must admit, I felt more bittersweet about the accident. What a horrible thing to happen, for any soul to endure. But surely this was a man who was determined to keep fishing until the day he died.

Stiansen spent nearly seven decades doing what he loved, he’s admired as a legend in his community, and he was sprightly enough well beyond retirement age not only to get out of the house but to work on the water. We should all be so lucky.

Our hearts go out to the Stiansen family and the fishing communities in and around East Quogue, N.Y., where Stiansen is known and loved.

About the author

Jessica Hathaway

Jessica Hathaway is the editor in chief of National Fisherman.

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