EPIRB Rescue Five Boaters in Key Largo, FL
25.0865° N°N, 80.4473° W°E
Posted on April 4, 2022 by Jacob Tanner
Jacob Tanner, from Broward County, Florida, had taken his uncle and three friends out in the family’s 25 foot fishing boat off the coast of Key Largo to enjoy kite fishing; drifting in around 150 feet of open water. The waves were about five or six feet, but quite a distance apart. He never expected he would have to use his ACR Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon or EPIRB.
While the day moved on, inches of water slowly crept up around their feet, but as the ocean is constantly producing waves, this was dismissed.
“There were no problems, everything was going great. Everyone was having fun.”
Then everything went wrong extremely fast.
After feeling water go over his boots, he tried to start the engine, but nothing happened. The right corner of the boat was already sinking quickly.
“In about 20 or 30 seconds the water rushed in. One guy was inside the boat’s console opening up the door to get the lifejackets and it locked on his leg – I’m trying to hail mayday – the boat flips over, all within 15 to 30 seconds.”
As Jacob and the others are thrown over-board, an 80 pound braid wrapped around Jacob and another man’s legs; but Jacob was able to get them free and floating in the water. All five men had no lifejackets, just bean bag chairs that managed to float to the surface. No EPIRB in sight.
Just as hope was beginning to wane, the box containing the EPIRB made its way from the sinking boat. Jacob set off his EPIRB (Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon) that managed to come up with the bean bags; and then he managed to get a hold of 911, despite practically non-existent service.
After being in the water for about 2 hours, they were rescued by the Florida Fish and Wildlife (FWC), while the United States Coast Guard (USCG) circled in on their flashing EPIRB from above.
Words of wisdom
“I take it [EPIRB] everywhere, whether I am in the Glades out hunting, fishing, duck hunting, now every time I go offshore I have it on my side or in a bag with me. Without it , honestly, I probably wouldn’t be sitting here right now.”
Thank you note
Key Largo, FL
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