A boater was rescued March 29 after his sailboat capsized due to rough conditions south of Long Boat Key Pass.
Around 3:20 p.m., the U.S. Coast Guard off Cortez received a report of a person in the water and overturned vessel 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 of Longboat 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,” which included gusts of wind, high seas and a rip current according to Chief Paul B. Dezzi, of Longboat Key Fire Rescue.
A Manatee County Sheriff’s Office marine unit was dispatched to search the shoreline for the man. They spotted him in the water waving his hands in the air, the universal symbol for S.O.S., the report said.
Dezzi said the man was only in the water for about minutes before he was picked up by the MCSO.
“He was wearing a lifejacket,” Dezzi said. “And the jacket saved him from going under because it helped keep his head above water.”
The MCSO unit lowered the dive door on the stern of the vessel and deployed a rescue line bag, or soft flotation device attached to a rope. The man was able to hold on to the device on while deputies pulled him inside the rescue vessel.
The victim said he was uninjured, but was taken to the Manatee County Marine Rescue Division Headquarters, 2651 Gulf Drive South, where members of the Longboat Key Fire/EMS examined him. He was released a short time later.
The U.S. Coast guard eventually found the boat floating in the Gulf, it had been pushed toward the middle of Longboat Key. The coast guard towed it back to the resort a little while later, Dezzi said.