In mid-October Jack Furley was blasting his 18’ bass boat through the Florida
Everglades at 70 mph when he hit a patch of sawgrass. The boat crashed, Furley
was injured, and he couldn’t walk out – at least not in one piece. You can guess
what was going through Furley’s mind, and it wasn’t largemouth bass. He did not
have a VHF radio, only a cell phone, a device not known to be effective in the
middle of the Everglades. To find out what happened to our speed demon -- snap
"I called 911. I had to get out of there. I knew I wasn't walking out," Furley
said. He was lucky to have cell coverage so far into the weeds and had it not
been for that, Furley might have been lunch for some of the local inhabitants.
After firefighters and officials searched for him for hours and couldn’t find
him they ultimately called in a SAR helicopter to help.
Furley was quickly found and plucked from the vessel and carried in the chopper
to the boat ramp where he had launched earlier in the day.
With a paramedic on each arm, Furley walked out of the helicopter with a smile
on his face and cuts on his forehead. "I only hit the weeds at about 70 miles an
hour," Furley joked.
Furley, who was treated in an ambulance and allowed to go home, said he knew he
was lucky. But he was not frightened. "I'm never scared. Right hand to God," he
said. "No, really, it's just, you deal with it. That's how I was raised and
that's how I'm as lucky as I am."
Moral of the Story?
Reports like this cross our desk every day. We often wonder where some boaters
were hiding when brains were handed out. But many boaters seem to have a thirst
for speed as well as beer, (unfortunately sometimes at the same time). The good
thing about Furley was that he was alone, thus did not jeopardize another with
his reckless boat handling. That he was still within cell range was dumb luck,
but if he had had a VHF radio he would have increased his chances of rescue.
As someone once said, “God looks after children, drunks, and boaters.” Amen.