Another sobering reminder of why life jackets are required on boats. Pure luck and treading water saved the lives of two American boaters when they fell out of their boat off the southern tip of Florida over the weekend.
The nine-metre motor boat was in gear, and they watched it pull away from them. Neither of them had flotation devices or emergency beacon.
Sean McGovern, 50, of Key Largo, Florida, and Mellisa Morris, 52, visiting from Texas, were boating off the coast of Key Largo when they fell into the water, according to the US Coast Guard.
Stranded in the cold water they floated around, treading water for 14 hours before, around 8am, an off-duty police detective and an off-duty firefighter spotted the pair floating in the water about 10 miles off the coast of Hallandale Beach, a northern Miami suburb.
They had a mild case of hypothermia and several jellyfish stings, as well as the beginning stages of dehydration.
US Coast Guard Petty Officer Mark Barney said their discovery was sheer luck, noting the pair's lack of emergency devices. 'It’s hard enough to see people in the water, because mainly you see them from their shoulders up,' he said, adding that a lack of other boats in the vicinity could have spelled a fatal outcome for the couple. More at www.uscgboating.org