Islanders this week mourned commercial conch fisherman Luke Gurney, a father of two who died in a fishing accident Monday. According to Nantucket police, Mr. Gurney was fishing off Great Point, the northernmost tip of Nantucket, when he became tangled in a line attached to a wire conch pot, or trap. He was swept overboard from the open stern boat. The pots are weighted to sink and lie flat on the bottom.

A number of private boats responded quickly to the area, following a distress radio call at about 9:15 a.m. The U.S. Coast Guard immediately launched a search helicopter and a surveillance aircraft from Air Station Cape Cod. Crews from Coast Guard Station Brant Point on Nantucket launched two boats to search the waters. Harbor masters from Nantucket and Chatham also responded to the emergency. At about 1 p.m., the Island fishing community lost all hope for a miracle when a state police dive team located and recovered Mr. Gurney’s body.

Nantucket police conducted a routine investigation of the incident.

“Apparently, the second to last pot was going over the side, he was wrapped up in a rope and it pulled him over,” said Nantucket police chief William Pittman. “It was just an accident.”

Mr. Gurney was fishing with his friend Ricky LeBlanc. Police said he made a valiant effort to save his friend, but was unable to get Mr. Gurney back aboard the boat.

“The one thing that all commercial fishermen have in common is that they know the risk, every time they leave the dock,” said Wes Brighton, a commercial fisherman who often fished side by side with Mr. Gurney in Vineyard waters.

Sun sets behind Mr. Gurney's fishing vessel No Regrets. — Steve Myrick

By Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Gurney’s 42-foot fishing vessel No Regrets was back tied securely in her familiar spot on the town dock in Vineyard Haven Harbor. Flowers were laid on the conch pots stacked on the stern, and later in the week friends put a green wreath on the boat. The small gestures reflected the sadness among a wide circle of family, friends and fellow fishermen.

Mr. Gurney, 48, of Oak Bluffs, was the father of two young boys, Jacob, 13, and Samuel, 11. His wife Robyn Gurney is a teacher and administrator at the West Tisbury School.

A benefit organized online reflects the heartfelt outpouring of support for his family. By Thursday, supporters had donated more than $66,000 toward a goal of $250,000.

Friends described Mr. Gurney as an outgoing, generous and passionate man, quick with a funny story and just as quick with a helping hand. He worked construction jobs, but in recent years turned to commercial fishing. It was no coincidence that his boat was named No Regrets.

“He lived life in the corner, full speed,” said Mr. Brighton, using a phrase which describes a throttle position familiar to fishermen. “The throttle, when it’s in the corner, is all the way up. Luke always had the most energy and the most drive, and he would always be so ready to hop on any adventure.”

According to his fishing colleagues, Mr. Gurney employed a technique commonly known as ghost fishing. Instead of attaching his trawl line to a marked floating buoy, he would let the trawl line sink, mark the position with GPS (global positioning system). To find the pots again, he would use GPS to return to the position, and use a grappling hook to snag the trawl line.

It is a technique employed to foil thieves who steal the catch, a common problem for commercial fishermen. But Mr. Gurney didn’t react to the theft of his catch with anger.

“He was someone that would always talk about his faith in humanity,” Mr. Brighton said. “He would always be so disappointed. It wasn’t just the bottom line, or the money, or the day’s catch. He was truly let down. He had that respect for everyone. Always.”

The mood has been somber this week on the Vineyard Haven waterfront, among the small band of commercial fishermen and recreational boaters. John Crocker, interim harbor master, saw Mr. Gurney almost every day. He was a regular on the dock, where he could often be found hauling in heavy bags of conch or tending to his fishing gear. He made an impression in the sometimes rough and tough world of commercial fishing.

“He was a good guy,” Mr. Crocker said. “He was a tough guy, too. You have to be to do that for a living. He never wanted to cause a problem. He always wanted to do the right thing. I had a lot of respect for him.”

Mr. Gurney was a sports enthusiast, and played in the Martha’s Vineyard Ice Arena’s adult hockey league. This past season he didn’t play because of a injury. According to his friend Travis Pachico, he volunteered to referee the sometimes raucous games instead, to make sure he didn’t further injure himself and miss work on the water.

“He showed up every night,” said Mr. Pachico. “I never saw him angry. As many times as the guys gave him a hard time on the ice, he always had a smile on his face. Most people would yell at you or tell you off. He just kind of smirked.”

Mr. Pachico said his friend was universally respected and admired.

“Everybody knows Luke, and everybody thinks the world of Luke,” Mr. Pachico said. “Every sport his sons played he coached, or was a volunteer parent. He would help other kids, not just his own. He was a family man all the way around, helping everybody. He wanted everybody to be happy.”

A wake is scheduled for Saturday, June 25, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Rock Funeral Home in New Bedford.