Man swims 3 miles to shore after falling off of sailboat near Freeport


The Brazoria County Sheriff's Office called U.S. Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston watchstanders around 7pm to report that a sailboat had washed up on Surfside Beach with no one aboard.

Watchstanders launched an air crew from Air Station Houston and a boat crew from Station Freeport.

About an hour later, BCSO deputies spotted a man with a life jacket on the beach near where the sailboat was found. The man told officials that he had fallen off of his sailboat and swam three miles to shore.

The Coast Guard credits the man's lifejacket for helping to save his life.

"This goes to show that a life jacket can and will save your life," said Petty Officer 1st Class Raymond Clemons, an operation specialist at Sector Houston-Galveston. "The important thing is this case is that the man not only had a life jacket on board but made sure he was utilitizing it. That is what saved his life."

USCG officials want to remind all mariners to heed this example and do the following before heading out on the water:

  • Wear a life jacket at all times
  • File a float plan
  • Check the weather prior to departing the dock
  • Have a marine band radio and visual distress signals on board
  • Have a registered 406MHz Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon
  • Have a Personal Locator Beacon
  • Do not boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs

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