On Sunday, September 6th, my son and I made our usual trip to fish Lafitte. We launch at Joe’s Marina, and this particular morning seemed busier than normal. We put the boat in the water and got underway.
There were two boats ahead of us in the Barataria Waterway. The two boats ahead of us were idling away from the marina and we got behind them waiting for them to get on plane. The first boat took off, then the boat ahead of us got on plane. We then took off as well, heading south.
As we got about a half mile south of Joe’s, for an unknown reason, the boat directly ahead of us veered hard left and ejected the sole occupant into the water. It was apparent that the boater was not wearing a life jacket, as he was barely able to keep his head above water.
Apparently, he was not wearing his kill lanyard either. His boat remained running and was circling the occupant at a high rate of speed. This made an immediate attempt at a rescue impossible.
My son was ready to jump in the water at that point, to attempt a rescue. However, I had to stop him. I knew there was no way he would make it to the person in the water without the boat or propeller striking him. I told him it was imperative that we wait for the boat to clear the swimmer.
For what seemed like an eternity, but was likely only minutes, my son and I had to watch as this man attempted to keep his head above water, while caught in the middle of his circling boat. When I finally saw the man on the outside of the engine I told my son to hold on. I gave it the gas and and got as close to him as I could.
My son grabbed a life jacket and tossed it towards him. Unfortunately, it was either just out of his reach, he didn’t have the energy to grab it or he was possibly suffering from some type of injury that didn’t allow him to reach it. At that point my son jumped in the water and attempted to grab him. The man had now gone underwater and my son searched underwater for 10 minutes trying to find him but was unable to. The man never did re-surface. Unfortunately, his body was recovered about 7 hours later.
Sorry for the long post but if bringing light to the fact that wearing a PFD or simply attaching your kill lanyard to your belt loop could help save someone’s life then this post is worth it.
Article courtesy of The Louisiana Fisherman via Facebook. Be sure to drop in and give him a like.