BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – Clinging onto his capsized Sea Ray, 62-year-old missing boater Stuart Bee was stranded alone at sea Sunday morning roughly 86 miles offshore of Port Canaveral.
Fortunately, crew members aboard the 225-foot container ship Angeles spotted Bee and rescued him about 11:30 a.m., U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class David Micallef said.
News 6 partner Florida Today reported that Bee departed Cape Marina at Port Canaveral about 4 p.m. Friday aboard his 32-foot Sea Ray, but he did not return. He was reported missing Saturday.
U.S. Coast Guard personnel — including a C-130 aircraft crew — searched for Bee and his boat Sunday morning across a large area offshore of Brevard County.
“It’s an amazing story. We’re just very thankful for the motor vessel Angeles and their entire crew for keeping a sharp lookout,” Micallef said.
“And we’re just very thankful, especially during this holiday season, that we can bring this man home to his family,” he said.
Micallef said Coast Guard officials had issued an “enhanced group call” — a transmission intended for larger vessels transiting the area — to look out for Bee and his Sea Ray.
According to Vessel Finder, Angeles is a container ship built in 2010 that sails under the flag of Liberia.
Angeles is en route from Port of Puerto Barrios in Guatemala to Port of Wilmington in Delaware, Vessel Finder reports.
“Their crew spotted the vessel — capsized. And as they approached it, they saw the man clinging to it. And they were able to recover him onto their motor vessel,” Micallef said.
“We currently have Coast Guard crews that are vectored in their position. We’re going to remove him from the motor vessel and bring him back to land,” he said about 12:30 p.m. Sunday.
The Coast Guard told News 6 they’re still working to see what went wrong on Bee’s boat.
“At some point Saturday evening he went to bed and he woke up in the early morning on Sunday with water having actively coming into his vessel. He escaped out of the vessel, and was able to hang on the bow until he was located,” said Commander Jillian Lamb.
Bee’s friend, Mike Britt, told News 6 he’s so grateful that Bee is safe.
“Good guy, he’s helped me out on my boat,” said Bee. “He’s just lucky to be found, that’s a big ocean.”
Britt said he and Bee both dock their boats at Cape Marina.
The coast guard told News 6 there were a few things that could have made the search a little easier.
“He had not filed a float plan or provided any information about where he was headed, it was an incredibly large search area,” said Commander Jillian Lamb.