Man Clinging to Boat Rescued Nearly 2 Days After Capsizing: 'A Truly Incredible Outcome'

Rachel DeSantis
·2-min read

USCG Southeast/Twitter Stuart Bee

A man whose boat capsized off the coast of Florida was rescued in dramatic fashion after a passing vessel spotted him clinging to what was left of his boat.

Stuart Bee, 62, was rescued on Sunday afternoon, a day and a half after he left Cape Marina in Port Canaveral around 4 p.m. Friday and never returned, the U.S. Coast Guard Southeast said in a press release.

The hunt for Bee began on Saturday, after a Cape Marina member told Coast Guard watchstanders that Bee didn’t typically stay out overnight on his boat, a 32-foot Sea Ray named the Stingray.

In addition to its own search, which included help from a U.S. Customers and Border Protection aircraft, the local Coast Guard command center alerted mariners in the area to look out for Bee and his Sea Ray, the release said.

USCG Southeast/Twitter Stuart Bee

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Eventually, crew members onboard a motor vessel called the Angeles spotted Bee clinging to the hull of his capsized boat about 86 miles offshore of Port Canaveral.

Dramatic photos show Bee holding tight to the small bit of boat still visible, and eventually climbing aboard the 225-foot Angeles in a short-sleeved shirt and jeans around 11 a.m. on Sunday.

U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class David Micallef told Florida Today that Bee was able to capture their attention in part by removing his shirt and waving it around.

USCG Southeast/Twitter Stuart Bee rescue

“Saving lives at sea is our highest calling,” Capt. Mark Vlaun, commanding officer of Sector Jacksonville, said in a statement. “This is a truly incredible outcome that demonstrates the bond among all mariners and our community. Thank you to our mission partners that launch into action and to all who got the word out to find and rescue Mr. Bee.”

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Micallef said that Bee’s boat suffered a mechanical issue, and began taking in water and sinking while he slept on Saturday night.

“It’s an amazing story,” he told the outlet. “We’re just very thankful for the motor vessel Angeles and their entire crew for keeping a sharp lookout. And we’re just very thankful, especially during this holiday season, that we can bring this man home to his family.”