Flare leads Coast Guard to boaters stranded 18 miles off Hernando coast

Courtesy USCG

Two boaters were rescued off the coast of Hernando County after an unexpected night at sea.

According to the Coast Guard, Brett Stump, 30, and Cole Bramlet, 23, did not return to shore as expected Thursday evening, prompting a search for the two men.

Early Friday morning, a Coast Guard C-130 plane spotted a red distress flare from their 22-foot boat, which had become disabled 18 miles west of Hernando Beach. A small response boat was able to pick the two men up and bring them back to Yankeetown Marina, unharmed.

“We are always grateful when we are able to locate missing mariners quickly and find them unharmed,” said Capt. Matthew Thompson, the USCG Sector St. Petersburg commanding officer. “Having the proper safety gear on board is important in cases like this to help us locate vessels offshore and out of cell phone range.”