Towboat captain from Marion is found dead inside partially submerged boat

Investigators are trying to determine what caused the sinking of a 29-foot TowBoatUS vessel off the shores of Cape Cod early today, an incident that killed the sole person on board, the 37-year-old captain, John M. Redler, of Marion.

Redler had completed a tow in the Barnstable area when the boat, the Triple J, started taking on water early today, Wareham Police Lieutenant Kevin Walsh, said in a telephone interview.

At the time, Walsh said, weather conditions were foul.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

“It was very foggy,” he said.

No foul play is suspected in Redler’s death, according to a spokeswoman for Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz. However, an autopsy will be performed by the state medical examiner to establish the Marion man’s cause of death, said Bridget Norton Middleton.

Though it may take several weeks before the investigation by Wareham police is completed, Walsh said there might have been a malfunction with the vessel that caused it to take on water.

The Wareham habormaster found the vessel partially submerged roughly three miles south of the Hog Island Channel at about 6 a.m., the Coast Guard said in a statement. Divers from the Wareham fire department found the captain dead in the cabin.

“Ending a search like this is a hard outcome to accept,” Coast Guard Lieutenant Brian Hall, the command duty officer at Sector Southeast New England, said in a statement.

The captain placed a distress call at about 1 a.m. to report that he was off the coast of Pocasset and that his vessel was taking on water, the statement said.

“He called us on a VHF radio and we were able [to] quickly find a fixed position,” said Hall.

Bourne police and the Marion harbormaster also assisted in the search.

“Sadly, accidents like these are a very real danger of working on the water,” Lieutenant Daniel Tanksley, a command duty officer, said in a statement. “In the wake of tragedies like this, we urge mariners to recognize these dangers, operate safely, and be prepared for the worst.”