LINDENHURST, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A skilled boater was discovered dead Monday in the Great South Bay off the South Shore of Long Island, less than two days after his empty boat washed ashore.

As CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, police were searching for answers Monday in the mysterious accident.

The flag was lowered to half-staff Monday at the Anchorage Yacht Club in the Great South Bay – the destination never reached by member boater Andrew Weis, 48. Weis was an avid outdoorsman and athlete.
“He’s a great swimmer,” said yacht club manager Billy Jennings, “a great guy — very nice guy.”

Weis’ 13-foot white and gray dinghy was found washed up on Venetian Shores – a marina dock in Lindenhurst – on Sunday morning. It was empty and crumpled.

Weis had left Gilgo Beach at 5:30 p.m. Saturday with a life jacket onboard. He headed out alone to meet friends at the yacht club gazebo – a routine 25-minute round trip.

He never showed.

An urgent maritime alert went out and the search began, with Coast Guard boats and helicopters. It spanned two days and multiple rescue agencies who pulled his body ashore from Copiague Harbor Monday morning.

In Huntington, Weis’ tearful parents wanted to try to say thank you to first responders.

“We’re in deep mourning,” his father said. “We apologize.”

At the Melville home that Jennings shared with his girlfriend, another of Weis’ boats was visible on his driveway. Neighbors described him as popular and outgoing.

“It’s pretty sad,” said neighbor Max Kim. “I’ve known him for a while now.”

“I didn’t even think of foul play,” said neighbor Ethel Schroeder. “I figured it was, you know, an accident on the water.

Suffolk County police and the Coast Guard were asking any boaters who may have seen anything suspicious on Saturday evening to contact them at once.

“We don’t know what happened,” said Great South Bay resident James Quirk. “Did a storm come up? Did he get thrown overboard? Was he really a good swimmer?”

The Weis family must cope with this tragedy. The Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s office will determine cause of death.

Police have launched an investigation to discover exactly what happened and why. Based on the damage to Weis’ boat, detectives believe Weis was involved in some type of accident.