Gulf Stream Trip Turns Into Rescue Mission
Let me start by saying this is long and wordy and I apologize, but I felt all of this needed to be said. Most of the my evenings last week were spent studying SST’s, talking to fellow captains and trying to figure out where the best place was going to be to try and catch a wahoo or something. Blackjack Hole to the Southeast or the Winyah Scarp to the South. Like many of my counterparts, I was thinking the Blackjack Hole to the SE the majority of the time. Saturday afternoon, I decided I would buy a “Fish Here” map just to try and glean some more helpful information. Got the map about 8:00 PM and it basically said that one was about as good as the other…still thinking Blackjack in my mind. I even PM’d a couple of my captain friends to confirm their choices. Here comes the twist. A friend of mine from Raleigh texted me around 9:00 Saturday night and we started discussing the choices. We chatted for about 15 minutes really with no decision made. Shortly after our conversation, something inside of me said “okay, we’re going to the Winyah Scarp to the South. Note: I hadn’t heard back from my PM’s as of this time either. So, go to bed at 9:30 looking forward to tomorrow. We all arrive at the boat at 5:30 am and we are shortly underway from Myrtle Beach Yacht Club heading out of Little River Inlet, course set for the Winyah Scarp. I first heard the announcement at 6:00 am from the pan pan the Coast Guard was issuing all morning long concerning the overdue Proline out of Georgetown, SC. As always, this is placed in the back of your mine for the future if necessary. After running for about two and half hours we see this boat appear out of the haze with what appeared to be a bright red light mounted on top. It was dead in the path the GPS was taking us. As we were nearing the boat, we all began to think it was a flare. When we got closer we could see the boat listing hard to starboard and three men waving their arms frantically. As we came along side, their first words were “we are sinking”.
I immediately contacted the Coast Guard and reported finding the overdue Proline and gave them the coordinates of the vessel. I won’t get into the details of the conversations with the CG but needless to say, they were in-depth. Within a few minutes the CG Helo was circling overhead and asked I could transport the guys back to land. Of course I agreed. We loaded the guys and their rods and reels on board and circled their boat a few times as to say good-bye and then headed back to Little River Inlet and the Myrtle Beach Yacht Club. As we talked and learned more of our new passengers, they said they left Georgetown around 5:00 am Saturday. They ran out with no problems but when they slowed to start their troll, they noticed they were taking on water. They were unable to determine where the water was coming in and at what amount. They were losing the battle and as soon as the batteries were submerged they lost all electrical power. The began bailing water with five gallon buckets Saturday and continued through the night until we came upon them yesterday morning. When we arrived back at MBYC, the wife of the boat owner was there to meet them along with a Coast Guard Petty Officer that wanted to debrief the incident with me and the rescued.
I’ll admit, later that day when I was in my home contemplating the day’s events, I broke down a bit thinking what “could” have happened if the good Master had not sent us in that direction yesterday. Don't forget to hug the loved ones. Keith