The job of sheriff’s deputy comes with danger every day.
For one Florida deputy, danger took on a new meaning when an empty boat was barreling through Tampa Bay.
Deputy Travis Fernandes and his colleague, Deputy Jillian Constant, were having a normal day as part of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Marine and Environmental Lands Unit when they got a call from the U.S. Coast Guard on July 30, the sheriff’s office told McClatchy News in an email.
About 2 miles east of St. Petersburg in Tampa Bay, a boat was on the loose.
The Coast Guard told the deputies the driver of the boat had fallen off and was picked up by a Good Samaritan, but it now meant the boat was speeding through the bay with an empty helm.
The Coast Guard tried to throw prop fowling devices into the water, but the boat proved more difficult to stop.
The deputies took off in their own boat, trying to match the speed of the uncontrollable boat.
Soon, they were up to 41 mph along the inside curve of the boat’s trajectory, and Deputy Fernandes got ready to jump.
Getting closer and closer to the runaway boat, the deputy waited for the right moment, then leaped from one boat to the other and quickly took control.
The deputy was able to turn the boat away from the shore and cut the engine.
The deputies attached the boat to their own and took it to the dock.
The sheriff’s office posted a video of the rescue to its Facebook page and said, “yes, Deputy Fernandes does his own stunts.”
The department encouraged all boaters to attach the motor kill switch to a lanyard in the event the driver is thrown from the boat.
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