Quick thinking saves boaters aboard capsized vessel

Quinton Sheppard - Posted on Jul 08, 2010 - 06:04 PM

Four Gloucester boaters encountered a scary and life-threatening situation Saturday night when the Boston Whaler they were traveling in flipped over because of rough waters. Gloucester residents Priscilla Hogge and Kenny, Kevin and Lisa Horsley were not seriously injured, but remained floating in the water for nearly four hours before making it back to shore.

According to Hogge, the four were heading out of the North River and trying to get out to the Ware River when the incident occurred. "It looked to me like a tsunami," Hogge said. The boaters were in the water off Roane Booker’s cottage, before Ware Point, when the boat capsized.

They were about to turn around when they realized the water had suddenly gotten rougher. "Then, it happened all of a sudden," Hogge said.

"I just kept praying, ‘Dear Lord, help us get ashore,’" she said. "And I’m thankful we’re alive today."

She said it was crucial that the group stayed together and not leave the boat, which did not sink. "Those are the number one things to remember," she said. "We tried to keep our heads on straight and we made sure none of us left each other or the boat."

The distressed boaters used the butterfly swimming maneuver, she said, and eventually made it to a sandbar on the Mathews side of the river near Mobjack Bay Estates around 3 a.m. Sunday. They approached a home whose owner graciously took them in until someone could pick them up and take them home, Hogge said.