A Knox County deputy suffered mild hypothermia Thursday night after his boat went adrift off Vinalhaven during the height of an April northeaster, forcing him to swim to shore.

Knox County Sheriff Tim Carroll said Deputy Daniel Landers was sitting in his cruiser near the Vinalhaven town dock along the Fox Island Thorofare. The deputy was finishing up his duties as it was nearing the end of his shift after 9 p.m. April 9 when he noticed his 16-foot long personal boat was suddenly adrift when the bow line broke.

Deputy Landers typically traverses the thorfare in his personal boat to get to and from the island of North Haven, where he often stays and Vinalhaven, his designated patrol area, the sheriff said.

Deputy Landers went to the boat as it was just off the shoreline and was able to jump on. While attempting to maneuver the boat from the rocks by backing away, the boat became partially submerged with water. When the boat blew against a rock outcropping, Deputy Landers made the decision to get off  the boat as it appeared to be drifting down the channel.

The deputy found himself about 50 feet from shore on an outcropping with water between him and the shore.

In the midst of this he was attempting to communicate with Sgt. Smith and Knox County Dispatch via cell phone and portable radio. Communications reception is weak at times on the islands, the sheriff said. Enough information was gathered to send help from Vinalhaven and North Haven fire and rescues crews, not knowing exactly which side he was on.

A lobster boat from North Haven with Deputy Fire Chief Foy Brown attempted to reach him, but could not get close enough to him to pick him up or toss him a line. Landers ended up swimming to where rescuers were able to assist him on the Vinalhaven side. Landers was able to put a lifejacket on.

The ordeal lasted about 45 minutes from when the deputy got in the boat until he reached shore and rescue crews.

Landers had mild hypothermia and possibly a sprained ankle, the Sheriff said.

The boat was recovered and secured back to the dock.

There was heavy snow at the time. Winds were 25 to 30 miles per hour with higher gusts, according to the National Weather Service in Gray. Seas off of Owls Head were 6 to 8 feet, the Weather Service reported.

The water temperature off Owls Head was 40 degrees Fahrenheit.