Wrightsville Beach Sea Tow captain responds to July boating incident

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Sea Tow Captain Scott Collins with his dog.

A Sea Tow boating expert said one Coast Guard-mandated safety measure is necessary in boating safety — and can prevent you from going overboard.

Wrightsville Beach Sea Tow Captain Scott Collins said a new federal law took effect requiring the use of engine cut-off switches in all boats under 26 feet, as of April 1. 

“I was out patrolling when I heard the samaritan on the radio,” Collins said, speaking of the incident off the coast of Wrightsville Beach on July 5. “I immediately headed toward where they were. Luckily, they had enough wits to follow the bread crumbs on the abandoned boat and able to find him.”

On July 5, Jack Sherman, 21, and Andrew Sherman, 50, were out fishing off the coast of Wrightsville Beach. They noticed an empty boat with no one on board coming straight toward them. 

They realized someone must have gone overboard — they were right and ended up locating the man who had been treading water for nearly three hours about 40 miles from land.

‘True heroes’:Son, father rescue overboard boater nearly 40 miles off Wrightsville Beach

Andrew Sherman, left, with son, Jack Sherman.

Collins said if the man’s (who went overboard) engine would have been shut off if he was utilizing an engine cut-off switch and would have been safer out there — and his boat wouldn’t have driven off without him.

“Although the man was not required to have one since he was not in those parameters of requirement, we still highly recommend them for anyone boating,” Collins said. “The Coast Guard isn’t giving out tickets yet, but will probably start next year for anyone not utilizing the engine cut-off switches.”

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