A Holmes Beach fishing guide on a Jan. 7 charter saved the lives of three boys and two men after finding their canoe capsized in a choppy, cold Sarasota Bay.
Two men, Steven Brubacher, 37, of Sarasota, and Darren Martin, 39, of Ontario, Canada, and their sons, ages 5, 6 and 11, were treated for hypothermic conditions at Cannons Marina, 6040 Gulf of Mexico Drive, after the water rescue, according to Longboat Key Police and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reports.
The children were air-lifted from Cannons to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg and EMS transported the adults to Blake Medical Center in Bradenton.
“All were treated and released and everyone is OK,” FWC spokesman James Boogaerts said.
To be credited with the rescue is Holmes Beach Capt. Taylor Rahn, 23, also a marketing major in his last year at the University of South Florida, Manatee-Sarasota.
The third-generation Anna Maria Island fisher has operated Ultimate Fishing Adventures for three years.
Rahn was operating his charter for two Tampa men Jan. 7 — and even confirmed ahead if they wanted to take the trip despite the cold conditions.
They agreed. So the party left Kingfish Boat Ramp at 8 a.m. to face what Rahn called “pretty brutal conditions,” 45-degree Fahrenheit temperatures, winds at 20-30 mph and a chop of 1-2 feet.
It was about 10:30-11 a.m. when Rahn observed a paddle waving on the water in the distance about 100-150 yards south of his boat.
Rahn said no other vessel was in eyeshot.
As they got closer, south of Sister Keys, he could see there were five people in water about 10- to 15-feet deep, gripping a canoe.
During the rescue, one boy was slipping in and out of consciousness, and the others were crying, screaming and shivering, Rahn said.
“We’re going to save their lives,” the charter boat captain said, as he advised his clients on the importance of remaining calm.
“We needed to get them immediately lifted out of the water,” he added.
So Rahn pulled out the children first, circled the boat around and lifted out the men.
One of the men said they’d been stranded for nearly an hour.
Rahn sped to the closest port, Cannons Marina on Longboat Key, where emergency crews waited.
Once there, medical professionals took over.
Rahn said he hopes the fathers and sons return to the area so he can give them a free charter boat ride.
The captain said he wants to show them how the water can be safe and fun.