Coast Guard recovers body of Martha's Vineyard fisherman swept overboard off Nantucket

The first report of a man overboard was received at 9:15 am, Monday.

A small bouquet of pink and white flowers placed on a stack of conch pots rested on the stern of the "No Regrets" as she lay tied up at Owen Park dock Tuesday morning. — Nelson Sigelman

Updated 7:50 pm, Monday

A multi-agency search on water and by air ended Monday afternoon about 1 pm when the Coast Guard announced that rescue crews had located and recovered the body of Luke Gurney, a missing Martha’s Vineyard conch fisherman and father of two, who became entangled in gear and was swept off his 42-foot boat No Regrets, near Nantucket.

“Our thoughts go out to the family of the victim and the entire fishing community who is affected by this tragedy,” Cmdr. Marcus Gherardi, Chief of Response for Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England, said. “Anytime we are not able to accomplish our goal of saving lives, we are deeply saddened as we also take it to heart.”

A youcaring site has been set up for the family at

Coast Guard crews and local agencies began searching the waters approximately one-quarter mile west of Great Point on Nantucket after receiving a report at about 9:15 am that a fisherman became entangled in fishing gear and was swept over the side.

No Regrets is homeported in Oak Bluffs. Luke Gurney of Oak Bluffs is listed as the owner of the conch fishing vessel, according to the office of the Oak Bluffs harbormaster. Mr. Gurney was fishing with another man dropping conch pots when he became entangled in the line linking the pots, according to a fisherman who overheard the radio traffic.

News of the fishing tragedy quickly circulated around the Island. Mr. Gurney was well respected within the Island community where his wife is a teacher.

Jeffrey Canha of Vineyard Haven, a commercial fisherman, told The Times late Monday that the mood was somber on the town dock at Owen park where Mr. Gurney often tied up his boat. Mr. Canha said Mr. Gurney played and coached hockey and was deeply enmeshed in the Island community. “He was always upbeat, always positive,” Mr. Canha said. “Willing to help anybody.”

The search lasted nearly four hours and included a 47-foot motor lifeboat crew and 29-foot rescue boat crew from Station Brant Point, a 42-foot rescue boat crew from Station Chatham, an Air Station Cape Cod HC-144 Ocean Sentry crew and an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew. Other agencies involved in the search included the Massachusetts State Police, Harwich Regional Dive Team, Nantucket Harbormaster, Chatham Harbormaster, Chatham Fire Department Dive Team, and three good Samaritans, the Coast Guard said in a press release.