It was just before noon on a Sunday in January and all was quiet, that is, until Sea Tow Corpus Christi owner, Capt. Brandon Upton, overheard a distress call to Nueces County Emergency Services. A man and his son were struggling to navigate rough waters as winds were picking up and conditions were deteriorating.
The two were about a mile east of the Packery Channel jetties, just southeast of Corpus Christi. They were in a 19-foot Stoner Catamaran with a 115 HP outboard engine – a boat made for shallow-water flats fishing. Luckily for the father and son duo, Sea Tow was quick to respond.
In less than half an hour, Capt. Brandon, Captain James Chadwick and Capt. J.P. Hominick had found the boat after battling 6-foot waves and his boat catching air several times on his way out of the inlet. When they arrived on scene, the team of three Sea Tow Captains went into action. Captain James took the helm while Capt. Brandon jumped aboard the boat in distress and passed the father’s 6-year-old son to Capt. J.P. to safety on the Sea Tow boat. At the permission of the father, Captain Brandon navigated the smaller boat back through the inlet to safety. Not long after that, the father and son were back on dry land, returned safely to their loved ones.
“The difficult part of this rescue was definitely the conditions and the size of boat,” Capt. Brandon recalled. “That boat was not made for 4-to-6 foot seas. Just coming back in through the inlet could have led to a capsize. Maneuvering any boat in rough waters is a challenge, but it can be especially dangerous in a smaller craft.”
In light of this situation, Capt. Brandon wanted to remind boaters of a few important tips for safe boating.
- Stay off the water, if possible, during red flag conditions.
- Check the weather before you head out on your boat and make sure you monitor it throughout the day
- Make sure your marine VHF radio is functioning properly and make sure your cell phone is charged
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, Capt. Brandon urged that all boaters should take a boating safety course. Even the most experienced boaters can learn a thing or two from one. It’s the easiest and most informative way to ensure you know what to do when conditions go south.
Read the full story and watch the report about Capt. Brandon’s rescue in this news story from 3News in Corpus Christi.
Have you ever found yourself in bad conditions like these? What did you do to get yourself and your loved ones safe ashore? Share your story in the comments below!