Two Pasco County men stranded on a boat in gulf storm - WFLA News Channel 8

Two Pasco County men stranded on a boat in gulf storm

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HUDSON, FL -

Joe Merten and Rick Smith have only been friends for a short time.  On Monday night they decided to take one of Smith's boats out for a ride.   A faulty gauge led to them running out of gas after thirty minutes.  Things went from bad to worse when a storm moved in from the gulf.

The men went below deck to ride out the storm, but the anchor line was cut from the tossing and turning of the waves.   The boat drifted out to sea.  Merten says, "I woke up and I looked outside and I didn't see any houses or lights around I was like where the hell are we at you know."

With no other boats in sight, Merten decided to try to make it back to shore.  "I took off. I wasn't waiting. I was not hero it was more of a selfish act.  I'm like I'm out. I'm getting us help."

Merten then waded through the shallow water for hours. The rocks below cut and bruised his feet.  "Going through parts of it the rocks were knee high so I had to just step basically from rock to rock you know."

Merten finally made it to a dock.  The home owner pulled him out of the water.  "They were great people..outstanding..threw me in to a hot shower, gave me warm clothes, called the coast guard...hung out there fed me a sandwich."

Smith says he was very thankful when the Pasco County Sheriff's Office Marine unit finally made it to him.  "Very nice people.  Give me a blanket cause I was soaking wet from walking in the dag gone water too."

Smith and Merten plan on going to retrieve the stranded boat. And this time they are bringing plenty of gas.

 

 

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