Rescue At Sea

IMG_0544I was heading over to the town pier to pick up Sue and 6 friends for a short boat trip and lunch at The Chartroom. I was about a mile due east of The Point when I spotted what I first thought was debris floating in the water.

As I got closer, I realized it was the bottom of a small aluminum skiff completely capsized with 4 men trying to hold on and two young children clinging to the hull and no one was wearing a life jacket and the youngest child, who looked 5, was crying uncontrollably.

Suddenly, all those years of watching Deadliest Catch came rushing back to me. I cut the engines and lowered my stern ladder. I then shouted over and asked “is everyone accounted for?”

They said — “yes, please save us.”

I grabbed the VHS and hollered out my best “PAN, PAN, PAN, this is the Mean Kitty. I am approaching a small skiff capsized, one mile east of Peases Point Mattapoisett. 6 souls on board — 4 men and 2 children, all accounted for, no life jackets, need help, I will attempt to rescue immediately.”

Within 10 seconds, the Woods Hole Coast Guard came back and asked me some questions, then told me they were sending a 45′ rescue boat. They agreed that I should attempt to rescue them myself and then call them back once I had them all on board, so proceeded.

“Can any of you swim.” I asked and the men all nodded. I then asked who was the best swimmer and told him that I’d pull as close as I could to the submerged boat and he should swim to my ladder, which he did. Once he got on board, I asked had the two other “good swimmers” swim over with the 5-year old and then the the rest.

I called the Coast Guard and reported all survivors were on board. They asked if anyone was injured. The 5-year old was still crying, but we determined he was just scared.

Next I told the “good swimmers” to go and tie a line to bow of the boat and try to right it, which they did. Surprisingly, the engine was still on the back and the plastic bag with their camera and cell phones were also still there.

By now, I’m getting VHS calls from the Mattapoisett Harbor Master and Police, as well as Marion and Fairhaven. I called the Coast Guard and asked for an ETA and they said “8 minutes,” which was about 25 minutes after the first call.

By the time they arrived I was surrounded by Mattapoisett Harbor Master (PJ Beaudoin) and Fire Department boat, The Fairhaven Harbor Master, The Marion Harbor Master, The Massachusetts Environmental Police, and Sea Tow.

Once I knew everyone was safe, all I wanted to do was to get the survivors and the Coast Guard off the Mean Kitty and untie the swamped boat so I could hurry up and go pick up Sue and our guests!

The Coast Guard said they’d take the survivors and they’re gear, but not the boat. Fortunately, PJ and the Mattapoisett Harbor Master took the swamped boat off my hands, so I was back on my way 50 minutes after I first stopped.

Here are some photos I managed to take and even a 23 second video!

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11 thoughts on “Rescue At Sea

  1. Excellent Dave!!! Congratulations on a job well done. Good photos too. The survivors looked wet but happy. Hope you and Susan and your friends had a nice lunch at the Chart Room.

  2. What a day for you, Dave, and a spectacular one for the survivors! How lucky for them that you happened along. Congratulations on a job well done! Tom T.

  3. Way to go Dave – We love Deadliest Catch , always knew that was educational some how!. Somebody owes you a few captin & cokes ! Job well done ! God Bless , your Dad is smiling proudly down on you !

  4. What a day that was,one I sure wont forget for some time.I was one of the adults on that boat and want to take this opportunity to thank you Dave for being a good samaritan that day.Although this incident was scary,it wont alter my love for the ocean.That being said,I will certainly be better prepared the next time I go out there,specifically having a life jacket ON! This event could’ve turned tragic and its
    a good reminder for all of just how much respect the ocean commands! It was a small miracle that things turned out the way they did that day.

    1. Hope we didn’t ruin your plans for that day…I’m sure we were the topic of conversation all afternoon between you and your friends…LOL “it’s all fun and games until somebody loses a nut” LOL fitting shirt wasn’t it?

  5. No Lou, you didn’t ruin our plans — Much of life is made up of the stories we tell and thank God you gave me one of the best stories of my life. To be honest, I never noticed your shirt.

    Take Care — Dave

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