And now, Rauer has come before the Riverhead town board to cry out for change.
Rauer attended Tuesday's town board meeting and said he rents space at the town marina.
"Safety is a major problem at that marina," Rauer said.
Rauer said on April 20, he went down to the dock to tie some ropes and put his boat in the water.
"I lost my balance and went into the water, fully dressed, in April. If it wasn't for the gentleman who happened to be in the parking lot, I wouldn't be here," he said.
The problem, Brauer said, is that there was no ramp, no ladder, no rope to help him out of the water and back onto the dock.
The life ring, he said, was too small and had no ropes attached.
"I tore my fingertips, trying to hold onto that dock," Brauer said. "I really didn't want to drown that day."
Brauer, 66, said he has been a licensed captain for 38 years and said there is "no reason" such safety measures are not in place.
Brauer said he brought his concerns to the town's recreation department, with an eye toward mitigating the safety issues before the July 4 weekend. So far, he said, nothing has been done.
"Eventually, someone will fall in the water and they are going to drown, and the town is going to have a lawsuit that will shake your belief in mankind," he said. "This needs to be addressed ASAP."
Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter said the life rings should have ropes.
"That's just common sense," he said. He added that life rings in more than one size should be made available.Brauer said a ladder should be installed.
Councilman George Gabrielsen said he would bring the issue up with Recreation Superintendent Ray Coyne.
An aluminum ladder, Brauer said, could be purchased for approximately $135. "At least then, you'd have a ladder," he said. "As it stands now, they'd find you floating in the water."
The height of the dock compounded the difficulty involved in rescue efforts, Brauer said. When the fire department and ambulance came, two EMTs almost "ended up in the water next to me," Brauer said, because of the height of the dock and the challenge of pulling him out wearing heavy wet clothes.
Even more problematic, Walter said, is that the marina is an unmanned facility. He suggested perhaps a policy should be instituted that a boater could not go alone, without someone else with them.
"How can you restrict someone that way?" Brauer asked.
Walter said the town can institute restrictions because the marina is a municipal facility.
The supervisor said even if a ladder was installed, if a boater fell in, they might not be able to get around the boats in the water to the ladder. Brauer suggested they be installed at every finger pier.
Councilman John Dunleavy said the ladders should be installed as a matter of public safety and money should not be a concern.
Walter said ladders and rings with ropes could be ordered.
"If someone gets hurt or dies, it's not a question of cost — this is a question of doing what's right," Walter said.