Coast Guard rescues man after canoe overturns near Sanibel Causeway

29-foot Response Boat-Small U.S. Coast Guard file photo

29-foot Response Boat-Small U.S. Coast Guard file photo

FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. — The Coast Guard rescued a man from the water after his canoe overturned near Sanibel Causeway, Saturday.

Rescued was Stephen Bivona.

At 12:05 a.m. Coast Guard Station Fort Myers Beach received a Maritime Emergency Response Team activation for an overturned kayak with a person in the water. After swimming to land, Dean Story reported to Lee County Sheriff’s Office that he and Bivona were in a canoe when it overturned and reported Bivona missing.

Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg launched a 29-foot Response Boat Small-II crew from Station Fort Myers Beach. When the boatcrew arrived on scene to the canoe at 12:23 a.m. the crew heard someone yelling for help. The boatcrew located Bivona in the water without a life jacket. Bivona reported he was fatigued from treading water for approximately 30 minutes. The boatcrew transported him to Sanibel Boat Ramp where Lee County Emergency Medical Services awaited.

“I’m glad he was still able to yell out to us, so we could find him quickly,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Jonathan Harkey, a boatcrew member who rescued Bivona. “We recommend every boater wear a life jacket, especially if you’re going out at night. Also, we urge boaters to attach a strobe light and sound producing device, like a whistle, to their life jackets.”

The Maritime Emergency Response Team consists of multiple federal, state and local marine emergency responders in the Fort Myers area.

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