Two boaters faced perilous conditions off Sebastian Inlet State Park last Sunday, but quick actions by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation officials ensured their safety.
Around 5 p.m., officers were alerted to a situation involving two individual watercraft operators who were thrown off their vessels due to turbulent seas.
As per the FWC’s statement, one boater was drifting away from his craft when the second tried to come to his aid. Unfortunately, the choppy waters led the second rescuer to meet the same fate.
Despite being roughly 100 yards from the coast, the pair clung to each other, letting the currents carry them further along the shoreline.
The prompt response team who saved their lives was comprised of FWC Officers Mike Hopkins, Matt St. Martin, Mekenzie Rivard, Richard Maroquin, Cole Delano, Sean Gaudion, and Zach Ricciuti. Demonstrating courage and collaboration, Officers Delano and Gaudion dove into the ocean. Battling the strong waves, each officer managed to reach one boater and swam back with them to the shore.
Following the rescue, the boaters were taken to a nearby hospital, and their full recovery is anticipated.
“Our officers were there in a matter of minutes,” said Maj. Jay Russel, NE Regional Commander. “They used their extensive training and survival skills to keep the victims calm and bring them to safety.”