CLEARWATER (FOX 13) - A boater spent Sunday night adrift at sea, after his sailboat's engine and rudder failed. For 13 hours, his boat rocked in the rough surf and high winds 18 miles off the coast of Clearwater Beach.
The Coast Guard was finally able to rescue him Monday morning, and captured the feat on video.
The Coast Guard sector St. Petersburg received a call at about 10:55 p.m. Sunday from a concerned family member who stated his son had not returned home from a boating trip. The father said his son departed Hudson at 7 a.m. Sunday en route to Palmetto.
He last spoke with his son via cell phone at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, when his son stated he was dealing with engine problems near Hurricane Pass.
Air crews and a boat crew began searching for the missing boater just after 11:00 p.m.
After an entire night of searching, one of the air crews spotted the disabled and adrift sailboat at approximately 8:30 a.m. Monday.
The Jayhawk helicopter crew arrived on the scene and lowered a rescue swimmer to the boat to assess the situation.
Later, the Coast Guard boat crew arrived, took the boater aboard, and towed the boat to a nearby marina.
Luckily, the boater was uninjured.
Chief Petty Officer William Wells, a command duty officer at Sector St. Petersburg, said, "This could have quickly turned into a dangerous situation. Fortunately, we were able to locate this boater before any serious health and safety concerns became an issue."