This was truly a stroke of luck that they were found alive! The Three, two men and one woman were about 12 miles out from the St. Johns Jetties when they were hit by two rogue waves, and their 20 foot boat capsized. This happened so fast that they ended up in the water without Life-Jackets.
The boat floated for a while, and finally sank, leaving them with only a cooler to hang on to. They drifted for
about half the day Sunday, all Sunday night. All day Monday, and all Monday night, treading water, and taking turns hanging onto the cooler. During this time they were getting stung by Jellyfish on their legs, arms, and even faces. The Sun was beating down on them, with no shade and no water.
Finally, about 1:30 PM Tuesday a passing fisherman spotted them 30 Miles off of Brunswick, Georgia, and picked up.
There are some lessons to be learned here. Could you survive suddenly being capsized? Lets up your odds with some simple rules to follow.
I am guilty of this, since I haven’t been taking my boat out much, but probably the first rule we should follow is to give a safety tour to our passengers. Show them where the fire-extinguisher is, where your “Ditch Bag” is and what is in it. Where the throw able lifepreserver is. A general tour of what is stowed where.
The second thing we SHOULD but don’t do very often is hand every passenger a LIFE-JACKET, make sure they put it on and know how to properly adjust it. NOW insist that while the boat is underway they wear it. If it is calm or flat out there, (Your choice) you can tell them they can take it off once anchored or drifting. That way it will be out, and near by for an emergency.
Think about this, If your ditch bag is stowed in a compartment, chances are you won’t get it out in time if you have a sudden emergency. I make sure mine is on deck, and has a float attached to it just in case of a sudden emergency like the rogue waves that hit our Jacksonville boaters, or being struck by another boat, or explosion or fire.
Following those simple rules will make your trip a lot safer, and up the odds on a safe return.