Father, son rescue missing boater 37 miles off Wrightsville Beach coast

Fishing 37 miles off the coast of Wrightsville Beach, the pair spotted a boat heading in their direction.
Published: Jul. 6, 2021 at 7:00 PM EDT
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WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, N.C. (WECT) - Jack Sherman and his family are originally from Roanoke, Virginia, but have a house on Topsail Beach. They enjoy vacationing in the area and Sherman is a big fan of fishing.

“Nothing makes me happier than fishing offshore,” said Sherman. “It’s truly my favorite activity. It keeps me going through the whole year.”

Sherman and his dad decided to go out to the deep sea to catch some mahi Monday morning. They ended up 37 miles off the coast of Wrightsville Beach.

With no one around, the pair spotted a boat heading in their direction.

“And as he cruises right by, we look in the pilot seat and there’s no one driving, which is almost pretty eerie,” said Sherman. “So first, it was just really weird having a boat come that close offshore. Second, we don’t see them in the boat, so my dad immediately goes, ‘Hey, hey is anyone on board?’”

Sherman jumped from his father’s boat to the empty boat, with nothing to be found except for a wallet and ID. They knew then and there, it was time to take action.

They called the Coast Guard and were able to use the GPS track line search to retrace the boat’s path.

“Ultimately, it was really helpful that we were both fishermen,” said Sherman.

He noticed a pair of shoes floating in the ocean, which was a helpful piece of evidence.

With the son on one boat and the father on the other, they continued the search, until Sherman heard his dad over the radio.

“It was the coolest thing I’ve ever heard,” said Sherman. “He just goes, ‘Coast Guard, come in Coast Guard, I found him,’ and he yells that with so much excitement and I’m like ‘Oh my goodness.’”

Sea Tow communicated that the man had been treading water for at least an hour. Sherman believes it was even longer than that, possibly more than two hours.

The man did not need any medical attention.

“We were all so thankful,” said Sherman. “It was probably one of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever been a part of.”

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