A towboat captain and his three-legged dog were responding to a call on the protected waters of Texas’ Matagorda Bay on Sunday when a storm swept through and kicked up 20-knot winds and a 4-foot chop.
His small powerboat, which had a cabin, took a wave over the transom and turned turtle, according to BoatUS. The captain managed to clear the capsized boat, but his yellow Labrador retriever was trapped in the cabin.
He removed his life jacket, swam beneath the boat and pulled his dog to safety. He managed to climb aboard the capsized hull with the dog, then contacted Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi, which dispatched a rescue boat from Station Port O’Connor.
“When we spotted the vessel it was capsized, and the gentleman was on the hull, and he had his dog in his lap,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Gerard Wynne, coxswain of the Coast Guard boat. “The waves were breaking over the stern.”
Before attempting to remove the captain from his boat, the crew threw him a life jacket. When the rescue boat got close enough, he helped his dog to safety before jumping over himself.
"[The man] was just thankful and grateful that we were out there and he was safe,” Wynne said. “He said if it was any colder he might not have made it. It might have ended up being a medical issue for him.”
No injuries were reported. A TowBoatUS representative told the Houston Chronicle on Wednesday that the towboat operator and his dog were doing well.