Strong thunderstorms created rough water conditions on Long Island Sound on Sunday.

The U.S. Coast Guard and its partner agencies responded to more than 20 cases of mariners in distress and 18 persons in the water wearing lifejackets after severe weather swept through western Connecticut and the Sound.

“In these cases, the Coast Guard rescued or assisted boaters across Long Island Sound ranging from taking on water, beset by weather, capsized, or disabled. In one case, a Coast Guard Station Eatons Neck boatcrew medically evacuated a female with an injured arm and safely transferred her to awaiting emergency medical services at Town Dock Pier in Huntington Bay,” the guard said Monday morning.

Stamford Marine Police Sgt. Kevin Fitzgibbons said he and his two boat crews were inundated by calls for help in and around Stamford Harbor when a squall came through Sunday afternoon.

Fitzgibbons said that earlier in the afternoon he was on patrol and warning boaters as they were leaving the harbor that some heavy weather was on its way and it would be best to turn back.

While some heeded his warnings, others continued on. While making safety checks, the police officers were able turn others back for a lack of life preservers and other missing equipment.

But just as the storm came tearing through the harbor, there were six calls for help with a number of people reportedly in the water, he said.

“The wall (of water) came through just as we thought and it was pandemonium for a little while. There were calls to 911, calls to our cell phones, VHF radio reports, police radio reports and email. There were six incidents going on at one time with reports of multiple people in the water,” he said Monday morning. Along with the two police boats, the fire department and harbor master also helped answer the distress calls.

Fitzgibbons said that when one kayaker fishing outside the harbor turned to see the blackened storm clouds racing toward him, he threw away his two fishing poles and started paddling to shore. He and his kayak were rescued by one of the police boats.

An 18-foot sailboat capsized, but the boat and crew were rescued by a Stamford Yacht Club chase boat.

One crew anchored and abandoned a boat outside Stamford Harbor, and the crew was taken aboard by another boat and brought into the harbor, Fitzgibbons said.

But no one was seriously injured and everyone turned out to be accounted for.

“Thank God if anything we only had minor injuries. Like I said, nothing too serious,” Fitzgibbons said.

After a busy weekend off Connecticut and Long Island, the guard is reminding the boating public to be prepared and to practice safe boating during the active summer season.

The Coast Guard recommends boaters check the forecasted weather conditions prior to departing shore.

In many cases, weather conditions can quickly deteriorate and catch boaters off guard and underprepared.

“The marine environment is complex and ever changing. That’s why prior to getting underway, always check the weather and ensure all required safety equipment is onboard,” said Cmdr. Valerie Boyd, search and rescue coordinator, Sector Long Island Sound.

“Many of the individuals are alive today because they were wearing lifejackets,” Boyd said.

For more information about how you can be prepared before heading out onto the water, visit the Coast Guard Auxiliary's Vessel Safety Check site.