Carl Darenberg Found Dead in Montauk Harbor

Carl Darenberg, seen here in 2008, was found dead in Montauk Harbor on Monday morning. Janis Hewitt

The man found dead in the the water off Uihlein's Marina in Montauk Monday morning has been identified as Carl Darenberg Jr., the owner of the Montauk Marine Basin and a well-known figure in the hamlet. 

According to police, Mr. Darenberg, 64, was found in Montauk Harbor off West Lake Drive, not far from the marina that has been in his family for nearly 60 years, at about 9:40 a.m. 

East Hampton Town Police Chief Michael Sarlo confirmed Mr. Darenberg's identity this afternoon, though no further information was immediately available.

Word of Mr. Darenberg's death quickly spread throughout town. Mr. Darenberg's page on Facebook, a social media site on which he was very active, was fast filling up with condolences and memories. "If ever there was a man who epitomized 'joie de vivre' it was my friend Carl," wrote Paul Monte, the general manager of Gurney's Inn Resort and Spa in Montauk. "He lived every day with a gusto and spirit that was larger than life. It was a joy, an honor, and a pleasure to know him, work with him, and call him my friend."

Mr. Darenberg ran the full-service marina that his father bought in 1955, with his daughter, Courtney, his son, Chase, and a nephew, Chris, according to the marine basin’s website. Two shark-fishing tournaments, including Montauk's first no-kill shark tournament, are held from his marina. He was also a yacht sales representative.

Mr. Darenberg’s father, the late Carl Darenberg Sr., a charter boat captain from Freeport who had moved to Montauk in the 1930s, bought the Montauk Marine Basin in 1955, and his mother, Vivian, was born at Third House in Montauk to Frank and Hilda Tuma, descendants of the Bakers, a founding family of Montauk.

Mr. Darenberg began working at the Marine Basin  at the age of 7, and started working as a mate on charter boats when he was 12. He earned a captain’s license at 18, and became the general manager of the marina in 1993.

In May 2008 interview in The Star, he recalled being a student at the University of Florida in January 1973 when he received word that the marina had been destroyed by a fire. He returned home to help his family rebuild it, but it caught fire again that May.

"Local fishing guys helped us get up and running again. We were pumping gas by Memorial Day,” he told The Star, adding that he never did make it back to school. “I was needed here,” he said.

Mr. Darenberg was named the Montauk Chamber of Commerce’s Person of the Year in 2012.  He had been a member of the chamber’s board of directors for 24 years. He was also affiliated with many other Montauk organizations, such as the Montauk Citizens Advisory Committee and the Montauk Boatman’s and Captain’s Association. He helped organize many events, including the inaugural Montauk Seafood Festival last year, Montauk's harbor festival, and the chamber’s annual Old-Timers dinner.

With Reporting by T.E. McMorrow and Russell Drumm