Kiteboarder Helps Stranded Powerboat

Ten minutes before the De Lei’ed Parrots were set to take the stage and woo Jimmy Buffett fans, a woman ran up the beach to find help for a small boat that had run aground. Beach-goers had heard the cries for help.

Members of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Tarpon Springs Flotilla, Florida 11-9 had set up a table with information about boat safety classes at the monthly Sunset Beach Concert Series event on May 23 as part of National Safe Boating Week when the woman approached them for their help, according to a press release by Joan Jennings-McCabe, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 11-9 Public Affairs Officer.
The moon was full and the tide was low, revealing the marsh grasses. Auxiliarist Vicki Pierce used her cell phone to call 911 and was connected to the Tarpon Springs Fire Department.

Pierce then flagged down a man on a personal watercraft and asked if he could reach the stranded boaters but the thick grass posed a risk and he was unable to reach them. That’s when Hunter Gentry, a kiteboarder who frequents Sunset Beach, volunteered to undertake a creative rescue.

Using the wind off the Gulf to skim over the water and grass, much like an airboat, he reached the stranded boat. He loaded his wave board onto the boat and using the wind power of his kite, Gentry “sailed” the boat into a channel where it could be then be brought to shore.

Once ashore, the two young boaters were examined by Tarpon Springs Fire Department, who determined they were uninjured.

Auxiliarist Dave Corum was then asked to perform a vessel safety examination. Corum determined that the boaters did not have a cell phone or a radio, neither of which is required by law. He suggested that they both attend the next boating safety course.

The Tarpon Springs Coast Guard Auxiliary gives monthly About Boating Safety courses in their classroom at Turtle Cove Marina on the first Saturday of each month.
To learn more about the auxiliary and its ABS classes, call (727) 938-8568.

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