When three friends decided to pack dinner in a cooler and hit the waves in a 16-foot powerboat off Great Bay, N.J., the last thing they expected was to end up fighting for their lives while watching the boat sink, according to a report in Long Island newspaper Newsday.
“I’ll tell ya what,” says 48-year-old Kevin Rist, owner of the boat, to Newsday. “The fishing really wasn’t worth the aggravation.”
Rist, from Chalfont, Pa., his brother Gregory, 43, and his nephew Matthew, 22, were staying at the Evergreen Lakefront Resort near Atlantic City, where they were doing masonry restoration work.
Rist says he had just finished restoring the boat’s engine and adding new seats and electronic equipment to his boat, and decided last Tuesday to take everyone out fishing, according to Newsday.
The fishing and the weather was awful and, at around 4 p.m., they decided to motor back to PortRepublic near Atlantic City. However, the weather worsened and after a wave swamped the bow and pushed it downward, another filled the boat with water, and a third rolled the boat — tossing the men into the ocean.
“The boat went down in a matter of three seconds,” says Rist in the report. “We didn’t even have a chance to hit the distress radio. It was unbelievable how fast that boat sunk.”
The men, in only shorts and T-shirts, clung together for warmth. After a night in the water, the currents drifted them to a sandbar and they were able to stand and make a plan. As it was getting light, they decided to head toward a channel-marking buoy and wait for a boat to pass by. At 7 a.m., a fisherman heard their cries for help and picked them up.
The hospital kept Rist and his brother until Friday because both have a history of heart trouble. Rist says he will eventually buy another boat, but not right away, according to the report.
— Elizabeth Ellis