We Saved 6 People From Burning Charter Boat - Fort Lauderdale Fishing Charters

We Saved 6 People From Burning Charter Boat

July 18, 2018

Our captain and crew will never forget the day when we pulled the passengers of a charter boat off their burning vessel.  Our boat the Lady Pamela 2 was out fishing just like any other normal day.  The seas were about 2 to 4 feet with about 10-15 knots of wind.  There were a few other boats out this morning and we were all working about a 2 mile radius of fishing grounds in about 100 to 200 feet looking for kingfish, mahi, tuna, bonita and more.

While trolling the edge, we notice another charter boat with a fair amount of black smoke coming from the cockpit.  In no time, it was obvious that the boat was on fire and escalating quick!  Our Captain, Gino yelled “We gotta get those people off that boat NOW!”. Our mate Sean starting reeling in the lines, but there wasn’t enough time to get them all in, so he cut one of the lines in hot pursuit.

As we pulled up to the charter boat “The New Latitude”, owned by another charter company in Fort Lauderdale was in serious trouble. We knew we had to get those people off the boat quick as it was engulfed in flames and could could down at any moment.  We also noticed no one was wearing life jackets.

As professional charter boat captains, it is our duty to help out fellow boaters as well as fisherman no matter the situation.  And even more importantly it is our duty as fellow men to help our brothers out.  There was no question, we were going to do whatever it took to get those people off that boat while keeping our crew safe.

There are a few way to handle a rescue like this.  One may argue that having the crew put on lifejackets and get in the water is ideal for picking up the passengers.  However, we noticed none of them had lifejackets on board and also was said there was a pregnant woman on board at the time.  Without time to think, we knew we had to get the boat close enough so that they could hop on board bow to bow.  If the fire was raging in the cockpit, then we would of preferred coming up from the transom, but that was not an option.

Now when doing a passenger transfer in any kind of seas you risk damaging your boat severely.  However, we would never put our boat first over the rescue of lives.  But you do have to think and consider the situation.  For example if this was a Gas vessel, you risk the chance of the fire spreading or an explosion.  We obviously knew this was diesel so we decided to get as close as we could and get those people off the boat as fast as possible.

Boat fire

With 2 to 4 foot seas, the task was no easy feat.  The Lady Pamela 2 took on some damage as the boats bows collided from a wave.  As one person tried to come over to us, he nearly fell between the two boats, but luckily caught himself. With some tight maneuvers and our mate Sean carefully helping, we got all the passengers including the captain aboard and no one was hurt.

It didn’t take long for fire rescue to show up and try to put out there fire, but it was too late.  The boat was completely engulfed in flames and eventually sank just off the beach.

Back at the marina, just about every local news station in town was calling us.  They had their helicopters out and wanted to hear first hand from the crew of the Lady Pamela on how the rescue went. Later on that day, local Channel 4 and 7 did an excellent job covering the story.  We don’t consider ourselves hero’s by any means, we were just doing our jobs and what we hope anyone would of done.

Overall, I am so happy our captain and crew was out there to save lives at the right time. If we were not out there at the time, I’m not sure what the outcome would have been.  It is critical as boaters that we always have a safety plan in place.  Before all our charters, we go over what to do in exact situations like this including where you access life jackets immediately.

We also have a fire suppression system on every boat in place called the “Fire Boy”.  Not only do we have this system, but we check it more than recommended to ensure it is working.  And of course all fire extinguishers on the boat are checked more than recommended to ensure they are working as well.

I’m not happy that the crew was NOT in life jackets during the rescue.  That is the first thing that needs to be done in a case where people might enter the water. It certainly worked out, but we can always learn from each rescue no matter how successful it was.

Please comment on our YouTube channel how you think we did and what you would of done different if anything at all.

Tight lines,
Captain David








Rough seas yield sailfish bonanza!

My wife and I arrived late on November 19th, as our taxi driver took us on a unscheduled (you know what I mean) tour. Captain David calmly assured me that we would still make out fine, and in fact the rough seas that day were actually a good sign and improved our chances of a sailfish strike. We stopped to pick up some of the best bait available which they call google-eyes (small extra cost, highly recommended). They fish sailfish with kites in south Florida if weather permits. I’ve fished with a kites before, but not in the same manner as the crew of the Lady Pamela II. This windy day they flew two kites with multiple baits on each. It was truly a sight to see and they explained everything as they were going, so it was very interesting and educational too. It wasn’t long before one of the orange floats was zig-zagging across the water and the mate grabbed the rod and free spooled for a few moments before gradually pushing the drag up to strike. Just as he did this, the orange ball seemingly flew horizontally across the top of the water at an amazing speed (I swear as fast as a car) for about 100 yards…the sail was hooked and the rush was exhilarating! I took the rod and began fighting the fish just as I heard the captain and mate discussing that this was a very large sailfish…smiles were all around the boat. The fish put on an incredible fight lasting about 25 minutes and did a few amazing jumps, dancing across the top of the water for 20 feet at a time. We eventually brought the fish to the boat and it was an impressive 7 feet, 3 inches long! (I’m on the left in the picture)There were high fives all around. I’m having it replica-mounted, and it will be a long overdue addition to my present collection. A few moments later we were on another large sail which my wife fought for 20 minutes (we have some incredible footage of jumps on my GoPro) and got just outside the reach of the leader when it unfortunately pulled the circle hook. She was tired and a bit sore after, so when a third sailfish was hooked, I fought this one all the way to the leader too! Later in that day we hit a school of Mahi-Mahi which devoured all the baits in the water in seconds…another rush and it also provided some supper as well. Lady Pamela II was one of the most comfortable boats I’ve fished on, and definitely was family friendly with a clean and spacious restroom as well. David and his crew were professional and courteous and I would have no hesitation recommending them for a family outing, or to experienced deep sea fishermen like us. The trip was a magical memory that we will never forget. Thanks David!