As-seen-on Right This Minute, Angie Scott's Facebook Live video of a boat zooming wildly out-of-control in Stuart, FL goes viral!
It was the final destination of the Florida leg of our Redfish Roadie Roadtrip with Rip and Hopper's Adventure. We had just made our way across Alligator Alley and fished for peacock bass in the urban canals outside of downtown Miami as we trekked from The Everglades to Stuart.
We barely made it in time for our Community Casting Event which was being held at Sandspirit Park. It was a great turnout and the energy was high as a lot of young people, even kids, made it out to try their hand at casting a fly rod.
It was there we got our first look at the boats we'd be going out in the next day. It was a new cutting-edge line of skiffs developed by Hell's Bay Boatworks founder Hal Chittum. The new venture was co-founded by Captain George Sawley and that's who myself and Katie Puterbaugh would be riding along with.
Katie and I had already experienced our fair share of adventure on this trip. You can hear all about it on Episode 87 of the podcast, "Stranded on Jewel Key," so we were expecting a pretty low-key, relaxing day exploring the flats for monster tarpon.
The tarpon wasn't really in the mood to cooperate that morning. They were taunting us for sure...After giving it our best shot for the better part of the morning, we decided to head back across under the bridge and past our starting point at Sandspirit Park to chase bonefish.
That's when Captain George noticed a boat turning on a pretty tight radius and a big splash. His first instinct was that it was some crazy guy pulling a tuber. We decided to head over to investigate. As we got closer, it was apparent that was not the case. In fact, he realized no one was driving that boat and the driver had likely been thrown overboard. We had no choice but to make sure there wasn't a PIW (Coast Guard terminology for a person in the water).
I decided to go Facebook Live to capture the crazy scene.
Sure enough, there was someone in the water but thankfully there was already another boat on hand trying to get the man up and to safety. They were having a difficult time and understandably concerned about the out-of-control vessel potentially changing direction and heading for them.
Captain George made a pass around the wild boat and his wake from the Chittum Skiff helped to tighten up the path of the rogue vessel. As they were finally pulling the man to safety we learned the boat had a full tank of gas. That meant it could be out there running like that for 10 hours or more depending on how big the tanks were.
We had fishing to do! So that's what we did. Unfortunately, I can't tell you how this situation eventually resolved. We assume the Coast Guard arrived and were able to stop the boat somehow.
I can tell you the rest of our day was thankfully uneventful aside from seeing several sharks, barracuda, jacks and even turtles.
It's a miracle that man didn't get hit by the boat after he was thrown overboard. He was not wearing a PDF and clearly didn't have his kill switch attached either. All lessons to be learned and thankfully it didn't cost him his life.
Wear your PDF. Wear your kill switch. Safety first. Adventure on!