Lauren Conner, 32, of Aberdeen, Md., admits she was at fault.
"I was just being careless, acting silly, wasn't being safe," she told Baltimore’s WBAL-TV.
Conner was sitting on the back of a boat Sunday night when it hit a wake near the mouth of the Sassafras River and she fell overboard. Although her boyfriend reversed course to look for her, no one aboard could spot her in the darkness.
"I wasn't nervous. I was like, 'I'm not going to die in this dirty old bay,' " Conner told the TV station.
She first swam to a buoy, but saw no boats heading her way. That’s when she realized she was alone and chose Plan B, swimming to an island about a mile from the buoy.
Among the search team were first responders from Harford, Cecil and Kent counties, Maryland Natural Resources and state police and the Coast Guard, but they failed to locate her.
On the island, Conner found a spot to curl up and wait for daylight, when folks from the Aberdeen Proving Grounds rescued her.
Would the outcome have been different if she’d been wearing a life jacket? Maybe, but if she had a personal locator beacon or a life jacket with a strobe light attached, her friends would have found her a short while after she hit the water.