An evening boat trip quickly turned life-threatening for one California man. Scott Thompson, a commercial fisherman, took his boat out around 5PM on January 26. Five hours of swimming later, he wound up on an oil platform with no boat. Thompson wasn’t fishing that day, but rather clearing his mind after recently losing a close friend. On his way back, he stood up on the side of the boat, but rough waters took hold of the vessel. Thompson lost his balance and fell. That left him stranded in the water and watching his boat drift away. He attempted to swim and catch up to it but was unsuccessful.
… So he began swimming in hopes of finding safety. Along the way, Thompson was met with a seal, who seemed like a sense of hope at the time. He says, “The seal would go under water, and he came up and nudged me. Did it know, like hey, this human is in trouble; hey, keep going dude?”
… Eventually, around 10PM, Thompson found his way to an oil platform “and just clung to it for dear life.” The platform’s crew helped him up and called the US Coast Guard.
Another extremely lucky person to be alive. This person was underway by himself when he fell off his boat right before sunset while the boat was still in gear about 10 miles offshore. For 5 hours he swam in just shorts and a t-shirt to an oil platform where he climbed up for help. We responded and located his 22’ Anderson aground on Anacapa Island and were able to remove it before any major damage occurred and before any pollution or debris was emitted within the Channel Islands National Park & National Marine Sanctuary.
Wear a life jacket. Have a float plan. These simple acts could save your life. Your local TowBoatUS Captains are always standing by to answer any questions on how you can boat more safely.