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On December 27 my family and I were leaving Fort Lauderdale and heading to Bimini for our New Year’s vacation on our 35 Everglades center console with triple verados. We departed Port Everglades around 9am and made it roughly 30 miles when the boat began to run up on its starboard side at 40mph. It felt as though we had hit something in the middle of the ocean. At that time it was quickly noticed that the starboard engine was no longer mounted to transom! The motor was in fact hanging in the ocean by the rigging, and providing lateral propulsion as a stern thruster would. We immediately shut down the engines and the motor then broke the rigging and sunk to the bottom of the Atlantic. At that time we were not very concerned as we had two additional working engines. However, as we soon found out, when one engine is missing, the computers will not allow the remaining engines to fire!
With no cell service and four children on board, we started to panic and realized we were officially stranded. A majority of the passengers began to get seasick as we were tossed around by the sea. We immediately pulled out our rapid ditch bag and tried to contact two mega yachts who were passing roughly a 1/2 mile off of our bow. When they began to get close we started shooting flares, blowing whistles, and attempting to make radio contact. We were unsuccessful and frankly pretty scared. As they passed us we continued to attempt to make contact via flares and radio with no luck. At this time we set off both of our Epirbs. One of which came with the boat and was many years old, and another we had recently purchased.
Within an hour we were able to make communication with a distant yacht who relayed communication to the coast guard. The coast guard received the signal from the Epirb and was in route to us at the time. They arrived within minutes. The helicopter arrived first and ensured we were all okay and in no life threatening danger. The cutter ship showed up and launched their smaller inflatable to provide assistance as a storm approached. Thanks to the Epirb we were able to get the coast guard to us in a timely manner! They relayed communication to sea tow who dispatched a tow boat to our location. We were then towed back to Lauderdale safe and sound. Our Epirbs definitely saved our lives that day.
Our Epirbs definitely saved our lives that day.
Thank you ACR!
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