Visitors to the Montauk Lighthouse may not immediately notice a smaller 15ft structure at the eastern end of the park, where the 60ft cliffs fall off into the sea, but for local fishers it’s a daily reminder of their struggle against the power of the sea. The 8ft, 2600lb bronze statue set on a 7ft slab of granite is inscribed with the names of those lost to the waves, from the colonial days of New York to the present.
Next to each name on the memorial is the date they were lost and, hauntingly, their age.
Jarred by the deaths of young fishers Joe Hodnik and Ed Sabo in 1993, locals formed the Lost at Sea Memorial Committee the next year and rallied political and financial support for a statue, which was finally unveiled in 1999. Even Long Islander Billy Joel gave some proceeds from a concert to help defray costs. The artwork, created by Montauk sculptor Malcolm Frazier, showcases a powerfully built fisherman in overalls, pulling on a rope while standing in a half-shell of a boat.
The statue is introduced in John Aldridge and Anthony Sosinki’s A Speck in the Sea, a 2017 nonfiction account of Aldridge’s 14-hour fight for life after being lost overboard in July 2014 on a lobstering trip.