I hope you enjoy this issue of Soundings, which has a lot of great content for those who appreciate yarns about salty boats and the people who care for them. However, there’s only so much editorial we can squeeze into each issue. We’re limited by pages in our print edition, but we do use our e-newsletter to deliver additional content. (If you haven’t subscribed yet, go to soundingsonline.com.) Recently, the e-news feed contained a few good rescue stories that reminded me how selfless and courageous boaters can be.
Evan Kamoen, 18, of Killingworth, Connecticut, was fishing with his friends Luke Voegeli and Ryan Kelly on Long Island Sound last June when they heard a VHF distress call from a boat that was taking on water. The teenagers throttled over to help, but when they got to the other boat it suddenly overturned, throwing five men between the ages of 72 and 80 into the cold water. Three of the men couldn’t swim. The teens rescued four of the victims; another boat came in time to pick up the fifth man.
The boys did a lot of things right that day, including monitor their VHF radio. But they also displayed bravery. “If you come across a situation like that, you just have to do what you have to do,” said Kamoen to a local news source.
Another rescue occurred last July, when Andrew Sherman of Roanoke, Virginia, and his son Jack, 21, were off the North Carolina coast. They were 40 miles out when a 23 Parker nearly ran them over. When they didn’t see a person at the helm, they chased the boat, then matched its 9-knot speed so Jack could jump aboard. There, he discovered the boat was unmanned.
The men used the Parker’s GPS to retrace its path in the hope they might find the captain. With Andrew on the Parker and Jack at the wheel of their 21 Sea Hunt, they drove the boats on parallel paths. When they discovered shoes in the water, they suspected the Parker’s operator had kicked them off to stay afloat. Andrew quickly figured out which way the boat had been drifting and went back to the last place the Parker had been on a straight line. He then ran big S patterns across the water. After a few passes, they found the missing captain, Sascha Scheller, who had been treading water for nearly three hours.
Scheller later revealed that he had removed his life jacket because conditions were so good. He then lost his footing on deck and fell in the water, with the boat driving off without him. “Luckily on another boat was a father and son, who are true heroes,” he wrote in a post on social media. “They relied on knowledge and experience to save me. My family and I will be forever grateful.”
Hopefully, you and I will never experience the fear that Scheller must have felt during those hours in the water. But if we do get into trouble, it’s beyond encouraging to know that there are resourceful and concerned boaters like these men out there.
This article was originally published in the September 2021 issue.