Surfside Beach, SC - SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - One man was rescued alive off the shores of Surfside Beach Thursday afternoon after police say his 15-foot boat capsized.
Surfside Beach Public Safety Director Andy Christenson says the man, who identity has not been released, was rescued by members of the Surfside Beach Service off of 7th Avenue South. As the dramatic rescue unfolded 75 yards from the shoreline, a crowd gathered at the edge of the water until he made his way to safety.
"We just came home and I saw something red [out in the ocean] and I looked in the binoculars," said Mary Bowlby.
Bowlby and her husband weren't only front and center for the Thursday afternoon rescue -- they caught it all on camera.
"[The rescuers] helped him in. The paramedics were there. They did his vitals. It was really quite impressive," she recalled.
Police involved in the man's rescue say choppy waters and rough winds could have aided in the capsizing of the man's 15-foot boat. While the man escaped a potentially deadly situation unharmed, police say the ending to the rescue could have turned out far worse.
"He could have hit something when it capsized," said Officer David Turbeville of the Surfside Beach Police Department. "He could have been pulled under. There are a whole lot of aspects that could have happened that could have made it a whole lot worse."
Police and beach patrols are now using Thursday's incident to remind beachgoers and boaters to exercise a little extra caution while enjoying the warmer temperatures and waters.
"Feel the current. If you do start to feel like you get pulled out, wade it out. If you're not comfortable with it, try not to go out too far," Turbeville advised.
Despite warmer temperatures and an increase of people on the beach, lifeguards are not on full-time beach patrol this early in the season. If water conditions appear to be too tough, police and beach patrols say the best thing to do is steer clear of the water.
Surfside Beach Police say the boater was wearing a lifejacket at the time of the rescue.