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Boater rescued by marine units

By Merab-Michal Favorite, Islander Reporter

A boater was rescued March 29 after his sailboat capsized due to rough conditions south of Longboat Key Pass.

Around 3:20 p.m., the U.S. Coast Guard at Station Cortez received a report of a person in the water and an overturned vessel in the Gulf of Mexico around the 5100 block of Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key.

The vessel was last seen 2 nautical miles south of Longboat Key Pass in the Gulf, the report said.

The victim was staying at White Sands Beach Resort on Longboat Key and rented an 8-foot sailboat for an afternoon on the water. However, not long after he launched the vessel he ran into trouble due to red flag conditions — gusts of wind, high seas and a rip current, according to Longboat Key Fire Rescue Chief Paul B. Dezzi.

A Manatee County Sheriff’s Office marine unit was dispatched and spotted the man in the water waving his hands in the air, the report said.

Dezzi said the man was only in the water for about 15 minutes before he was picked up by the MCSO.

“He was wearing a lifejacket,” Dezzi said, “and the jacket saved him from going under.”

The MCSO marine deputy lowered the dive door on the stern of his vessel and deployed a soft flotation device attached to a rope. The man was able to hold onto the device and deputies pulled him aboard.

The victim was uninjured, although he was taken to the Manatee County Marine Rescue Division Headquarters, 2651 Gulf Drive South, where EMS examined him. He was released a short time later.

The U.S. Coast Guard eventually found the boat in the Gulf near the middle of Longboat Key, and towed it to the resort, Dezzi said.

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