New London Workers Battle Winds, Water, Freezing Cold

Frigid temperatures only made jobs on the southeastern shoreline more difficult on Thursday.

Crews were fighting the winds, the water and the freezing cold.

At Cross Sound Ferry, many had masks covering their faces as they prepared to dock in New London or lined up travelers to drive aboard.

"It kind of takes it out of you," Captain Gary Duplessis said.

Duplessis said the challenges for his crew involve the bitter cold getting through their layers when they're required to be outside.

They also worry about getting wet, either by the Long Island Sound or from sweating during work that requires a lot of physical labor because the moisture makes it difficult to warm up.

"The crews are the ones that go through the worst of it. They’re outdoors all the time. They’re parking cars, the guys out in the yard. When you’re out on the water, you’re really exposed out there. There’s nowhere to hide," Duplessis said.

On Thursday, New London Seafood Distributors owner Gary Yerman and some staff were doing maintenance on the inside of a boat, so they could go fishing at 3 a.m. on  Friday.

"It’s rough. We don’t get out many times during the winter when it’s this cold. We’re afraid of making ice, dangerous conditions rough seas," Yerman said.

Yerman knows first-hand that severe icing makes the job even more dangerous.

"[In] 1994, we had one of our fishing vessels that rolled over right here at our dock in New London. Two fellas got killed as a result of severe icing," Yerman said.

According to Yerman, he and his crews try to only spend 15 to 20 minutes outside at a time to avoid the taxing elements of the bitter cold outdoors.

Contact Us