Rough seas capsized a vessel off the coast of West Bay and the lone man aboard lives to tell the tale.
The National Weather Service estimates waves last night between 2 and 4 ft. That was enough to topple a 28-foot boat off the coast of Barkers. The boater remains pretty shaken, saying he had to swim several hundred yards back to shore battling rough waves.
Those in the water sports industry say the skill of knowing how to swim saved his life and can save many more.
“If you happen to be on and if you find yourself going into the water inadvertently, knowing how to swim could be the difference between you living or not living,” said Tony Land, Manager of DiveTech.
Mr. Land said swimming is a simple skill that saved the life of a man whose boat capsized off the coast of Barkers Park. As the boater swam for about 40 mins from the reef to the land, parts of the boat, like this engine cover washed ashore as well.
Mr. Land said the rolling waves of the ocean make it even more important that those who partake in watersports are strong swimmers.
“Well just having the basic skills in order to stay afloat, keep calm, keep your head above water and then make it back to an area of safety is pretty critical,” said Mr. Land.
On the other side of West Bay fisherman, Abraham Oakley recalls an incident where swimming saved his life.
“One time our boat actually went underwater and we had to bail it out, one man got out and the next man stayed in the boat and bailed it because both of us in it, she was still taking in water, so i had to be the one that knew how to swim ,” said Mr. Oakley.
Both men agree that if you live on an island you should learn how to swim.
“The number one cause of fatalities in young children is actually not being able to swim, so giving a child the basic skills in water sports and just being able to swim could be the difference between life and death, so it is a good skill to teach your children,” said Mr. Land.
The man whose boat capsized told me when he swam to shore, he walked to a nearby residence to get a ride to catch restaurant to meet a friend who had been waiting for him to come back, the pair then went to accident and emergency to treat the man’s wound.
Meanwhile the Department of Environment has not responded to my questions on if the reef was damaged by the boat flipping over. The DOE confirmed there is no evidence of an oil spill.