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Pa. man missing

boat found

September 15, 2005|by DON AINES


A search Monday and Tuesday by the U.S. and Canadian Coast Guards failed to turn up any sign of a Waynesboro man whose fishing boat was found Monday morning beached on the shore of Lake Ontario.

Roderick Shade, 44, of 13743 Welty Road, was last heard from Sunday evening, several hours after he took the boat, according to Petty Officer Craig McCalister, the executive petty officer at Oswego Station. The boat washed ashore at Moon Beach near Sterling, N.Y., at about 1 p.m. Monday, he said.

The ignition of the 25-foot motor boat was in the on position, the throttle was engaged and the boat's lights were turned on, McCalister said. It appeared "the boat had been running by itself for sometime," he said.


Search planes from the U.S. and Canadian Coast Guards were joined by two U.S. Coast Guard helicopters, a 47-foot motor lifeboat and a 25-foot response boat, according to Petty Officer Matthew Schofield, a Ninth District Coast Guard spokesman in Cleveland. In addition to Coast Guard personnel, McCalister said a New York State Police helicopter and personnel from local fire companies conducted a shore search.

"There were a lot of different assets out there on the water," Schofield said. "One of the crews was able to use the GPS system that was on the boat to search all the places the boat had been."

"That did help us set up our search pattern," McCalister said. He said he believed the GPS equipment showed Shade's boat had been about three to five miles off shore.

McCalister said the search began about 2 p.m. Monday and continued through 6 a.m. Tuesday.

"The search area was searched about as well as it could be," he said.

McCalister would not speculate on whether Shade fell out of the boat or had some other kind of accident.

"For about 20 years, he loved fishing the Great Lakes," Shade's father, Don Shade of Waynesboro, said Wednesday. "He loved to hunt and fish. He just loved the outdoors."

He said his son went to Lake Ontario, where he had a trailer at a campsite near Pulaski, N.Y.

His son had gone there with his girlfriend, but she returned to this area while he remained behind to do some more fishing, he said.

The Coast Guard told him the down riggers on his son's boat were out and set for more than 100 feet, "so he was fishing in some pretty deep water."

If Shade was wearing a life vest or had some other way of staying afloat, he would have been able to survive in the water about 11 1/2 hours before succumbing to exposure, McCalister said. The survival time formula is based on a number of factors, including water temperature, the size of the individual and physical characteristics, he said.

The water temperature was in the low 70s and the weather was mild Sunday, McCalister said. Waves were between 1 and 3 feet, he said.

"It was very calm that evening. Very little breeze," he said.

The Coast Guard determined that Shade was alone went he took the boat out at about 4 p.m., McCalister said. After going out, he made a phone call to his girlfriend and then a series of radio calls to other boats on the water. The last radio communication with Shade was at about 8 p.m. Sunday, he said.

Shade described his son, a self-employed drywaller, as a strong swimmer who was "very good with a boat."

Being out on the Great Lakes, however, "is like being in the middle of the ocean," the father said. "We don't know what really happened."

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