Life jacket saves man from drowning; swims 3 miles to beach

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HOUSTON — A 51-year-old man is safe after falling off his sailboat and swimming approximately 3 miles to shore near Freeport Saturday night.

“This goes to show that a life jacket can and will save your life,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Raymond Clemons, an operations specialist at Sector Houston-Galveston. “The important thing in this case is that the man not only had a life jacket on board but made sure he was utilitizing it. That is what saved his life.”

The Brazoria County Sheriff’s Department called Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston watchstanders at approximately 7 p.m. to report that a 12 to 14-foot Hobie Cat sailboat had washed up on Surfside Beach with no one aboard.

The watchstanders launched an aircrew aboard an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Houston and a boatcrew aboard a 25-foot Response Boat — Small from Coast Guard Station Freeport.

About an hour later, Brazoria County Sheriff’s Department spotted a man, with a life jacket, on the beach near the location where the sailboat was found. The man stated that he had fallen off his sailboat and swam 3 miles to shore.

The Coast Guard reminds all mariners to heed this example and do the following before heading out on the water:

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