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The U.S. Coast Guard rescued three people Thursday near the Palm Beach Inlet after their boat took on water and capsized. Officials said this is the second time in less than a week that people were pulled from the inlet.
It was supposed to be a fun fishing day for Buck McTee, 44, and his two other passengers Chris Marcello, 56 and Lucas Alan, 24. After about three hours on the water, things took a turn and stayed that way.
"I was with a fellow retiree. A friend of mine and his son-in-law. It wasn't looking like we were going to get back on our own," said McTee. The nearly 23-foot vessel flooded and capsized about four miles out from the Palm Beach inlet.
"We had a catastrophic steering failure. It's turned to the left right now and it was stuck like that in 3 to 5 feet seas," said McTee. "I saw my bait and my bags of ice start to float. That's when I got on the radio. And grabbed my EPIRB ready to abandon if needed. That was it.
I thought we're not going to get out of this situation because we can only go in circles and we can only get forward progression and we can't drain this water."
In a moment's notice, McTee and his passengers relied on their wealth of experience.
"I served in the U.S. Navy for 24 years," Mctee said. "It was like a training video. How we communicated, we got the gear, we got safety going, I'm communicating on the radio. Nobody freaked out. Super calm."
The men's actions fit in light of the boat's name: Stressless. When rescuers arrived the three fishermen were waiting on the hull of the capsized boat.
"The Coast Guard guys did take a selfie. I'm sure they got bragging rights for years for rescuing two Navy guys," said McTee.
The group lost phones, gear and about 10 fishing rods. However, McTee is making new ones in his home shop as an extra business venture.
"It's such a cool process. I learned this through a veterans organization when I was still serving," said McTee.
McTee is working around the clock to get his boat repaired because he knows more than anyone a smooth sea never makes a skillful sailor.
Always be prepared for the worst case scenario. I was able to communicate via radio this time, but I may not be that lucky next time. Not to mention that having a back up to the plan is always a great idea.
Contact me, we can talk about it in person.
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