Alex Laham, of Grant, hopes to save lives by sharing his scary experience after his boat capsized 22.2 miles off of the Sebastian Inlet with his son and friends inside.
“So I’m sharing this as part of my healing and honestly hope that if it keeps just one person from becoming a statistic, well, it’s worth it,” Laham told Sebastian Daily .
The 44-year-old took Friday off to celebrate his birthday, which was in the coming Sunday. It was around 2:45 pm when Laham noticed that his 21 ft Century was taking on water.
“I will start by saying that I am thorough when it comes to prepping to go out. I have a checklist that includes radio, bilge pump, water pumps, plugs, ports, safety equipment every time I go out,” Laham stated.
He first noticed the back of the boat was low while he was trolling. So, he pulled in the fishing lines, stopped the vessel, opened the bilge access up, and noticed the pump was not working. At this point, his motor shut off, and the ignition shorted.
He acted immediately!
“I asked the boys with me to use the hand pump to try to get water out of the bilge, and I immediately contacted Sea Tow. No response, so I contacted the Coast Guard,” Laham told Sebastian Daily.
The Coast Guard contacted Capt. James from Sea Tow, and he was immediately on his way. As Sea Tow was making their way to the stranded boaters, Laham had the three teenage boys with him get in the front of the boat to counter the weight.
At this point, they continued to take on water. So, they grabbed all of their wallets and cell phones and put them in the “dry box”, along with flares.
Thankfully, they all had their life jackets.
“Capt James pulled up just in time. He threw a bilge pump at us, and as I moved to the back of the boat to plug it in, a wave came up the stern and capsized the boat,” Laham stated.
Laham believes that keeping calm the entire time and requesting immediate Coast Guard support saved them. He recommends that everyone have insurance and a Sea Tow membership (or similar).
Items he wishes he would have had
- a stand-alone bilge pump, with a soft hose in a dry bag
- a flare gun
- more insurance coverage
- a Sea Tow Membership/BoatUS Unlimited Towing Membership
- an EPIRB or Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon
Laham, his son, and the other two teens who were on board would like to thank Capt James with Sea Tow, who got to them just in the nick of time.