When Disaster Struck…

Posted on: May 12, 2014

This past Saturday, May 10, Bill Jackson’s Women’s Dive Team set out on a spear fishing dive for the Lionfish Round-Up Tournament. We were excited to set out on this adventure as it was our first tournament as a team. As we headed out on our 25 foot boat we thought the conditions were going to be okay with only 2-3 foot chop. Once we were about 12 miles out we quickly noticed conditions had worsened, wind had picked up and we were now looking at 4-6 foot chop. The Captain and girls agreed that conditions were not good and to call off the dive. We started to head back to shore. After about half an hour of a slow easy ride we noticed our boat started to take on water. In a matter of about 10 minutes, our boat was flipped over and we were all in the water 6 miles off shore. This was the most terrifying situation any of us have ever been in.

womens team(From left to right: Sarah, Baudilia, Courtney, Stefanie, Laura)

As terrible as the situation was, I can honestly say I couldn’t be more proud of how every single person on the boat handled themselves. It made the experience so much easier for everyone. The Captain of the boat was completely prepared for anything. Not only did we have all of the proper safety equipment, but we knew from our training that we would need to inflate all of our BC’s and be prepared for what comes next. We called 911 before the boat went under and were able to let them know we were in serious distress. By the time we were in the water, we knew the Coast Guard was on their way. After about half an hour, we noticed a plane circling us… it was the FWC! Soon after, the Coast Guard and Sheriff’s department showed up on boat. We were saved!!

We later found that the access port leading to the hull and electrics of the motor unknowingly popped out. In a rare situation like this you don’t have much time to react, but thanks to our Captain and the training we received at Bill Jackson’s we knew exactly what to do.

Although we lost the boat, our gear and some other stuff, we all made it home safe and that’s what truly matters.

Good job, Team!! 🙂

-Courtney Parker 5/12/14

Owned and operated by the Jackson family since 1946.
9501 US Highway 19 N, Pinellas Park, FL 33782
Store Hours Mon-Fri 10 a.m.-9 p.m. / Sat 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m. / Sun 10 a.m.-5 p.m. / 727-576-4169