Panacea, FL, USA
Posted on August 12, 2020 by Damon
On July 1st, 2020 we headed out on a nice day to go scalloping in the Panhandle of Florida. The kids had a great day and as we headed back we entered a storm that went into white out conditions.
We left for our 1 hour boat ride back at 12:00 PM. We never lost site of land. I remember at 12:37 taking a picture of my 6 year old sleeping on the helm seat. Soon after we encountered the storm our 1 foot seas went to a heavy chop and 3 foot. We were maintaining well until about 1:00 and approximately 1 mile outside our home port in Ocklocknee Bay. The seas seemed to double and were crashing at this point so we were in 5-6 footers. The kids already had life vests on and at that point the adults and myself put ours on. I told them all to stay with the boat if anything happened. Within 1 – 2 minutes we had taken on water and the engine quit. At that point we turned side swell into the waves and were immediately capsized. I had grabbed the Epirb a minute before and went overboard with Epirb in one hand and my 6 year old son in the other. We were all able to clear the boat(3 adults and 4 children) and no one was injured. At that point i quickly turned on the Epirb and explained to everyone that the coast guard now had our positions and was calling our family. We were able stay with the boat even though it was rough, raining, and thunder cracking. About 10 minutes later i reached under the boat and my first grab was a Yeti small dry bag that was originally in my ditch bag. I was able to get my cell phone out and call 911. While on the phone with 911 i saw a boat about a mile out. we had just hit the worse of the conditions and it was still raining but clearing up. I reached under the boat again and on my second grab located my ditch bag. I had 2 extra flares in the ditch bag. I was able to climb on to of the boat, spark the flare and the good Samaritan came and picked us all up. They brought us and towed the capsized boat into shore. The boat was a total loss but we were all OK. Two days later I returned the safety favor someone had started me on 10 years ago and bought that family the same Epirb and ditch bag as a thank-you.
Safety is something we always plan for even being a short distance offshore. I’ve owned boats and been on them for 20 years. The most calming part of that boat ride was when we went in with the Epirb. Regardless of our luck with the cell phone and the flare to the good Samaritan i knew help was on its way .
Pictures below were takend less than 1.5 hours prior to the captsize
Words of wisdom
Never underestimate a summer storm in Florida. Always be prepared with safety equipment even on small trips.
Thank you note
Thankyou ACR team for all you do and your advances in technology over the last 10+ years. My dad bought my first Epirb for me which i never would have bought at the time. Now the one that helped save our lives was my second one.
Panacea, FL, USA
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