Struggling Florida Swimmer Spends Night on Channel Marker

A 31-year-old woman was rescued by the Coast Guard Auxiliary after she was spotted clinging to a channel marker near Matanzas Pass, Fla., having been swept out to sea and forced to cling to the navigation channel marker for 7 hours on New Year's Eve.

The boatcrew from Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 91 was on a routine patrol when they located the woman, at 7-45 a.m. on New Year's Day, removed her from the marker and brought her aboard. The woman, who showed signs of hypothermia was immediately transferred to hospital, having explained that she went swimming off Bowditch Point the previous evening and was swept away.

“With many tourists in the area for the holidays, it is imperative they check the weather and get familiar with tidal patterns before entering unfamiliar waters,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Ronnie Leavell, operations unit controller at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg. “Weather can deteriorate quickly putting boaters and swimmers in harms way.”


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