Our boat accident happened three years ago this Memorial Day weekend. I am finally able to tell this story without getting emotional but my heart still races every time I put myself back in the water of that story.
The day after our accident, I emailed several close friends to let them know what had happened and to ask for prayers. Below is the email I sent. It’s hard to read it all but important to remember the emotion and feel of going through something so scary.
May 30, 2016
Subject: Prayer Request
We were on the GA coast and had taken the boat from my parents to St Catherine’s island to let JB and 2 other kids play on beach. There were a lot of big waves (which is rare- usually is very calm/no waves). We decided we should head back. As we were all getting in the boat, some water came into the boat but we turned on the bilge pump and it was slowly coming out the back of boat as we drove away from the beach into open water. But, at some point, the steering wheel turned hard right just as a big wave was coming and we all (4 adults and 3 kids) fell out of the boat into the ocean. The boat flipped completely upside down. We were about 200 feet from the beach. When I came up for air, I immediately saw JB (thank God). Then my dad came up and my mom and they grabbed JB. We all were holding on to the boat when the 4th adult came up screaming for his son but I also knew his daughter was missing. They were both trapped under the capsized boat. I then swam down, under the boat (holding my breath) and frantically reaching around for a kid. I grabbed a life jacket and pulled the little girl up with me. When we came back out, the dad came up then too and was screaming for his son. We both went back under but I couldn’t find the boy and was running out of air. I was back out waiting for what felt like for ever when I felt a limb in front of me and pulled it out. It was the boy. He was ok. Then I grabbed the dad’s arm (I saw his hand/wedding ring) holding onto outside of boat and pulled him out. Thankfully, people on the beach saw the whole thing happen. Two guys swam out to us and then a boat came. (Everyone at the beach had gotten there by a boat) but the waves were so strong/big/bad it was difficult to get everyone on the boat easily. This really nice, 21 year old GA southern guy drove me, my mom and 3 freezing little kids back to our dock/house. My dad and the other dad went back to beach with boat and were later taken back to public dock by a fire rescue boat. The coast guard also came and a helicopter flew over.
We are all so thankful to be ok and minus some bruises/scrapes on the adults- ok.
Each year, around the anniversary of the accident, I have written about the experience:
On the year anniversary of the accident, I wrote It’s Been a Year.
On the second anniversary of the accident, I wrote The Plea for Life Jackets.
And now, on the 3rd anniversary, I write this:
- Make sure children are wearing life jackets. If your child was riding a bike, you’d make them wear a helmet. If they are on a boat or dock, make sure they are wearing a life jacket. It’s very simple.
- As an adult, if you are ever on a boat and get scared, put on a life jacket. It doesn’t hurt anything. It won’t make the boat crash. It won’t mess up your hair. It won’t cost anything. It does nothing but make you feel safer AND if you do need it, you are set. You don’t have to try to search for one after you actually need it. Just put one on.
I hope everyone stays safe this summer!