Beloved home meets rough sea – two boaters rescued from sinking catamaran

wave decor
2 lives saved
Boat sinking
Crash or collision
Normal conditions
Rescue location
Coast of Cockburn Town 21.4675° N°N, 71.1389° W°E
Rescue team
Coast guard
Rescue duration
2h 30min

What happened?

This is so hard to write; tears are streaming down my cheeks as I tell you our sailing journey has ended and we are blessed and happy to be alive.
We left Turks and Caicos on Tuesday Afternoon (April 19th) afternoon for a 375 nautical mile, 3 full day journey to Puerto Rico. It was tough going, beating into six to nine foot waves, with winds much higher than expected.

A day later we hit a massive underwater obstruction (rock, volcano, lost container?) in what was supposed to be thousand foot depths! The boat stopped dead, we, and everything on the boat, went flying. And then the most horrible sounds of crunching exploded in ours ears as the boat bobbed on the huge seas and crashed back down on what we hit.

After a minute or two of shock and panic, our survival instincts were turbo-charged. Thomas was at the helm, trying to get the boat off the obstruction. I kicked into packing survival essentials in case we needed to abandon the boat. Filling water into anything with a lid, grabbing peanut butter, canned chicken, beans, and a can opener. I grabbed headlamps, portable VHF and batteries, scissors, knife, and life-vests. The last thing I grabbed were the medications, passports, and phones into the dry-bag.

Thomas managed to get the boat off of the obstruction but it was too damaged and within 10 minutes of the original strike, the hull was filling with water fast. Within 20 minutes of the accident the boat was a third of the way sunk and we had deployed the dinghy and life raft.

Carol and Thomas aboard Sweet Caroline

Words of wisdom

Emergency Preparedness:

-The #1 safety gear everyone should have is a personal beacon.  No matter where you are, you can be found!  Flares are a close #2.

-Talk about roles and procedures of what will be done in different emergency situations. Be prepared, as no matter how experienced you are, anything can happen.

-Stock food for an emergency.  I had two large jars of peanut butter, two large containers of unsalted nuts, 8 cans of cooked chicken, baked beans, crackers, and tortillas.  I figured we could have lasted two weeks on that!

General Boating Wisdom:

-All boats have problems, recognize that in many cases the critical ones will get fixed. And at the end of the day, enjoy where you are and have faith and confidence that all will be well!  Use your resources, join your boat brand social media groups to research and ask for solutions or work arounds.

-Make safety your number one priority.

Thank you note to the Ocean Signal team

Thank you to the wonderful team of the United States Coast Guard that took part in our rescue and to ACR for creating a safety device that brought us help.