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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Story posted Monday Sept 6th on Jay Mann's Fishing Website...

Here is my first write of a very scary story out of Barnegat Inlet.


There was a damn hairy rescue inside Barnegat Inlet on Friday.
I?ll try not to embellish this rescue tale but for a waterman like myself it?s hard not to home in on the subtle ? make that explicit -- drama of this incident.
Last Friday, a rental boat with two adult males and a five-year-old boy were out in Barnegat Inlet, between the north and south jetties toward the Lighthouse. Regulars to the inlet know there is a serious shoaling about 75 yards off the South Jetty?s concrete decking. I have even written in here that I?ve seen rideable waves, big enough to surf.
Well, the folks in the rental boat found the breaking waves.
The father of the five-year-old was catapulted out of the craft by a swell. The other adult grabbed the wheel to go back for the father. In doing so, he turned parallel to the breaking waves. The boat was instantly capsized by another breaking wave.
Sean McWhorter, owner of Sea Tow Central New Jersey, was patrolling in the bay, fairly close to the incident. When he got word -- first of a man overboard then a capsized vessel -- he responded immediately.
Emergency response is nothing new to Sea Tow and other professional towing companies. However, what awaited Sean upon arrival at the capsizing turned this response into a call to long remember.
Arriving on-scene, Sean heard the always heart-stopping words: There was a passenger missing. In this case, it was the five-year-old boy.
Yelling to a nearby craft to grab his boat, the Sea Tow captain jumped in the always fast-moving inlet waters. Sean knew where the child might be.
?I jumped in water right away and swam under the hull,? he said in a phone interview Monday.
Through unusually clear inlet water, Sean searched the length of the overturned vessel. He eventually saw two small legs. ?They were kicking,? he recalled.
The small boy was trapped under the boat, possibly within an air pocket.
Out of breath, Sean had to return to the surface.
With no time to alert anyone to the dire situation at hand, he immediately went back under and relocated the youngster.
Wanting to make certain of a strong grip, Sean grabbed the upper torso of the boy and pulled him under the boat, then kicked outward to clear the vessel.
The child was wearing a life vest, offering a firm hold.
This is one of those points where I just have to climb in the mind of a fellow human being, even one five years of age. I can tell you from underwater recovery and salvage work I?ve done, it?s dark under an overturned boat. Scary goes without saying. Just imagine being a small child stuck under there, confused and disoriented, as seconds then minutes tick by. Now, imagine being grasped from underneath and pulled deeper down. I?m getting neck shakes just thinking about it.
Of course, this grab was one of a life-saving nature.
Reaching the surface with the boy, Sean?s first thought was checking the condition of the youngster. A capsizing can often cause life-threatening blunt trauma as the boat slams onto the water -- and anything else in its way.
?I told him to breath. He coughed up some water. Then I asked him his name,? Sean said.
The five-year-old managed a teary ?Patrick.?
?He was scared and crying,? said Sean.
The Sea Tow captain then asked Patrick if he new where his dad was. Despite having just gone through what had to be the worst experience in his young life, Patrick had the wherewithal to point to his dad, who was still clinging to the overturned vessel.
No sooner had Sean established the boy was alert and coherent than the Coast Guard arrived.
?I signaled them over and they grabbed the boy,? said Sean.
Both adults and the Patrick were taken to the Coast Guard building where emergency vehicles and paramedics were awaiting.
Understating his own role, Sean pointed out after the rescue that the life vest is what saved Patrick?s life. This is true, though I?m guessing Sean and Sea Tow might be on the thank-you list of Patrick and his family.
 

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Master Baiter,

Great Post! I am sitting here with goose bumps. Looking at a picture of my 3.5 yr old and imagining him trapped under a boat due to my ignorance is enough to scare the sh!% out of me. Thank god is dad made him wear the life jacket.

Joe
 

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A great post!!!!!!!Thank God for those life jackets.Also a great job done by sean and seatow.Just glad everyone is home safe !!!!!


GONE FISHIN""""""""""""""""""""""
 

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It doesn't say which rental they got the boat from, but I know renters in Great Bay see a local chart, and written across the inlet on the chart is OFF LIMITS TO RENTALS. Don't the rental shops in Barnegat do that?
 

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Nice going Sean....You deserve a Medal...Thank God we have dedicated people like Sean and outfits like Sea-Tow...Boat U.S....and the U.S.Coast Guard who are available when we need them.
 

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Great job, Capt. Sean. From this day forward, anytime I bring a child on my boat they are wearing a life vest.
Thank God for a happy ending.

What time did that accident happen because I fising right in front of the lighthouse on the jetty and the wind was blowing hard. The current was ripping right before the high tide?

[ 09-07-2004, 11:44 PM: Message edited by: johnny d ]
 

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wow...Capt. Sean is a hero in my book. That water is dangerous and anyone diving into that situation without thought if their own safety is a hero.
 

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Well done. Ron
 

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was there any other coverage regarding this incident, local newspapers, tv etc. If so please let me know. I am going to try to get the rescuer some recognition for his rescue.
 

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Wow! Great save!!! Beyond the call of duty.
 

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Sean... Get job! This beer is for you!
 

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Congrats on a great rescue! Being a father, I couldn't imagine what he must of felt like when he couldn't locate his son.

Just out of curiosity, is there any kind of signs within the area warning about the shoal? If not, is there anyway they they could place something there with a warning sign.
 

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There are no signs but they are given a map and told not to go past the lighthouse by the rental place. They never should have been in that area and they weren't even in the channel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
This is Capt. Shawn's response on another fishing message board after somebody posted the story and others offer words of praise...

Thanks everyone. Yes it feels great to be for once on the other side of things when something like that happens. Seen too many go the other way. I actually gat a phone call last night from the little guy. He calls me "Uncle Shawn". Our families are probably going to get together one of these weekends and just enjoy what we have. EACHOTHER! Be safe out there!

--------------------
Capt. Shawn McWhorter
SEA\\TOW CNJ
Ebb Tide Marine, Inc.
609 660-7777
 

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What a wonderful story about about the good side of humanity. Putting one's self in danger for another person is the essence of heroism. People like Capt. Shawn make me beleive that there is hope for our world.
 
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