We’ve all heard the age-old adage “what goes around comes around.” Usually, that saying has a negative connotation attached to it; but for one of our longtime members, it recently had a bit of a different meaning.
Leon Tomczyk and his wife Linda were headed back home one Sunday after a day of fishing when they noticed a boater off in the distance – about 15 miles offshore near Boca Raton, Florida – waving a net in the air. Suspecting something may be wrong, Leon quickly diverted his course and headed toward what turned out to be a 25’ Whitewater.
As they approached the vessel and began talking with its owner, Leon learned that they had broken down and had been floating for close to three hours. Even though the boater was a Sea Tow member, all they had on-board was a handheld VHF radio, which didn’t have the range to reach those back ashore.
Without a second thought, Leon sprang into action and used his VHF to radio his local Sea Tow dispatch to relay the boat’s position. Within moments, help was on the way.
After ensuring everyone on the boat was uninjured and had plenty of water and food, and that Sea Tow was en route, Leon and Linda began to head back, but promised to remain within handheld VHF range to help direct the incoming captain to the boater’s position.
Within just minutes of leaving, they stumbled upon a bucket floating in some massive weeds. Being experienced anglers – the husband and wife duo put more than 300 hours on their boat each year and fish every weekend – Leon quickly dropped in bait and began trolling.
Shortly thereafter, Leon found himself reeling in a beautiful 30-inch Mahi-Mahi. Not long after that, another was on the hook.
In all, Linda and Leon hauled in three keepers from that spot and six total Mahi-Mahi for the day. Leon said he attributes stumbling upon the honey hole to good karma.
“I always try to help other boaters whenever I can because I know that chances are, one day, that’s going to be me,” he said. “You do it because it’s the right thing to do and one day it will come around, but you never think it will be just 30 minutes later.”
At the end of the day, Leon’s experience shows that doing the right thing pays off. It also shows the importance of always have a fully functioning VHF radio and emergency beacons on-board, especially if you’re headed off-shore where a handheld VHF or cell phone may not be enough.
Before you head out for a day of off-shore adventure, remember to take advantage of your local Sea Tow Automated Radio Check service, which you can learn more about here. The Sea Tow Foundation also rents EPIRBs and PLBs in case you don’t have one of your own or are heading out for a one-time voyage.