WEST PALM BEACH, Florida — Capt. Peter Horner and crew members Josh Clark and Matthew Haskell of San Diego-based Marine Group Boat Works, a boat builder of various workboats, were on their way to delivering the fourth newly built dive boat to the Navy when they saw a series of what looked like emergency flashlight signals in the water.
The male diver in his mid-20s was found adrift in the Gulf Stream 3 miles offshore south of West Palm Beach and north of Lake Worth by at approximately 8 p.m., Tuesday, March 17, 2015.
Immediately upon confirmation that it was a person in need of help, Horner notified the U.S. Coast Guard station at Lake Worth and led his crew on a successful rescue and return mission.
Horner maneuvered the dive boat closer to the victim and left the engines in neutral while Clark and Haskell prepared the swim ladder and life line. In speaking to the victim in the water, it was confirmed that there were no injuries but he reported being extremely exhausted. The crew threw him the life line with a pre-tied bowline, and he put it around his chest. The crew pulled him in and lifted him up onboard.
The victim reported he was diving on Princess Anne shipwreck while his friend waited for him in a 19 foot Key West boat on the surface. When he surfaced, he was unable to locate the boat or his friend. He tried swimming ashore but the northerly current in the Gulf Stream was really strong that he eventually became exhausted and was unable to continue that effort. He had been in the water for approximately two hours when he was found.
Throughout the rescue, Horner was in constant communication with the Coast Guard who had also been contacted by the diver’s friend.
“We’re happy to have been at the right place at the right time with the Coast Guard supporting us through the entire effort,” Horner said.
The Coast Guard coordinated the meeting location of both vessels and the diver was later safely returned to his friend.