Coast Guard rescue in a Force 7 lightning storm took less than 2hrs thanks to my EPIRB

Sportfish boater Glenn Rumer has praised his EPIRB for saving his life and the lives of his 6 crewmembers after their Stamas 390 Aegean was struck by lightning in a Force 7 storm off the coast of Clearwater, Florida.

Carrying an EPIRB on board was the difference between life and death for experienced sportfisherman Glenn Rumer earlier this summer.

The skipper, who has 35 years’ experience, has spoken of his ordeal after his Stamas 390 Aegean express cabin cruiser was crippled by a lightning strike in June.

“I’m here today for one reason – I had an EPIRB on my boat,” he told the ACR SurvivorClub. “There are so many other people that lose their lives because they are not prepared to be on the water.”

Footage of Glenn’s lightning strike was widely shared online shortly after the incident, but now the full story has been laid out in eye-opening detail.

Glenn and his six-person crew, which included his deckhand Guy and Guy’s partner Megan (who was 25 weeks pregnant), were fishing 120 miles offshore on the first day of the Old Salt Fishing Foundation ladies competition.

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Storms were not forecast until 1600, but seeing the conditions close in, Glenn made the decision to head for land at 1100. Shortly after that point, Guy filmed the remarkable footage below, which shows the moment of the strike.

Lightning knocked Guy to the deck and disabled most of the boat’s systems, but due to the way Stamas builds its boats, the bilge pump was isolated on a separate system, meaning that there was less risk of sinking.

Fortunately, Glenn had chosen to carry an EPIRB (emergency position-indicating radiobeacon), despite this not being a requirement for American boaters.

With the VHF mayday call going unanswered, Glenn activated the EPIRB and within two hours a US Coast Guard helicopter was on the scene.

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Following the successful rescue of all seven people on board, Glenn recalled: “Once I got into the helicopter, I could see everyone’s faces and the relief that we were all rescued, and I broke down again, thanking God and everyone involved that we were all alive.

“I also thanked the US Coast Guard and prayed for their speedy response which was only possible by having an EPIRB.”

Lt. David McKinley, Coast Guard pilot, added: “Lightning storms are routinely encountered in the Florida maritime environment and can pose a significant hazard to boaters.

“Fortunately, the boaters in this case were well prepared with all necessary safety equipment including an EPIRB, emergency flares, and a marine VHF radio to ensure a quick and efficient rescue.”

You can read Glenn’s story in full on the ACR SurvivorClub blog.

For more information on the best EPRIBs for boating, head over to our sister site Yachting World.


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