A Florida boater clung to the bow pulpit of his submerged powerboat for two days before he was rescued by a cargo vessel 86 miles east of Port Canaveral, Fla., according to the Coast Guard.

Stuart Bee, 63, headed out from Cape Marina in Port Canaveral Nov. 27 and never returned, prompting a marina employee to contact watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville at 11:40 a.m. the next day because Bee typically did not stay out overnight on his 34-foot Sea Ray powerboat, Coast Guard officials said.

A C-130 Hercules aircrew took off from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater to search, joined by a Customs and Border Patrol aircraft, and the Coast Guard began broadcasting advisories to mariners to keep a lookout for the vessel.

Around 10 a.m. Sunday the crew of the Angeles, a 738-foot Liberian-flagged container ship enroute from Honduras to Wilmington, Del., spotted Bee waving as he hung onto the anchor pulpit of his boat, almost totally submerged stern-down. The vessel maneuvered over and successfully got Bee aboard by 11 a.m.

The Angeles crew told Coast Guard officials Bee was safe and had no medical concerns. Bee remained on board the Angeles for the rest of its voyage and was to be picked up by a family member after the ship's arrival at the Port of Wilmington Tuesday.

“The chances of finding Bee alive were slim,” said Lt. Shawn Antonelli, a command duty officer at the Coast Guard District Seven headquarters in Miami. “But he was able to stay with his boat, which helped save his life.”

Florida boater Stuart Bee climbs a boarding ladder after being picked up by the cargo vessel Angeles 86 miles east of Port Canaveral, Fla., Nov. 29, 2020. Angeles crew photo via Coast Guard.

Associate Editor Kirk Moore was a reporter for the Asbury Park Press for more than 30 years and a 25-year field editor for National Fisherman before joining our Commercial Marine editorial staff in 2015. He wrote several award-winning stories on marine, environmental, coastal and military issues that helped drive federal and state government policy changes. Moore was awarded the Online News Association 2011 Knight Award for Public Service for the “Barnegat Bay Under Stress,” 2010 series that led to the New Jersey state government’s restoration plan. He lives in West Creek, N.J.

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