Being young and healthy probably saved the life of a 23-year-old man who survived 16 days at sea, before being rescued 10 miles offshore from Palm Beach County, according to health care professionals.
Samuel Moss Jr. from the Bahamas and a doctor who cared for him at St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach were meeting with reporters Friday.
When Moss arrived at the hospital on Jan, 29, his electrolytes were dangerously low and his body was in starvation mode, absorbing fat to survive, said Dr. Kevin Buford.
But Buford, an assistant director in the emergency department, said paramedics had started rehydrating Moss in the ambulance, so he could move his limbs when he arrived at the hospital.
“I thought he’d make it. We specialize in stabilizing people,” Buford said.
The U.S. Coast Guard had plucked Moss from a newly purchased 21-foot Angler boat that was sinking in the Atlantic Ocean, 10 miles off the shore of Palm Beach County.
Moss was talking to reporters Friday about his ordeal. It was the second time in a year that authorities have rescued him. In February 2017 his boat was stranded for three days off Grand Bahama before the Royal Bahamas Defence Force found him, according to a Bahama news report.
While Moss was still hospitalized Tuesday night, his girlfriend, Lashelle Forbes, said it was because he’s so “hot headed and he doesn’t listen” that his record as a seaman is so bad. Moss, a lifeguard at the Baha Mar resort in Nassau, just grinned.
“I never had a doubt that God was going to take care of me,” Moss said then.
It was a nearly fatal ending to what was supposed to be an easy four-hour trip from Bimini – where Moss had traveled after buying his used boat in South Florida – to Nassau. In a live Facebook video recorded as he left Bimini on Jan. 14, Moss seemed happy, excited and optimistic that he would soon be home.
But the weather turned cold, the seas grew rough, and the mariner’s family reported him missing for more than two weeks.
“He was found in completely the opposite direction from where he was going,” Chris Lloyd, operations manager for the Bahamas Air Sea Rescue Association in Nassau, said after the rescue.
Moss said he marked the boat for each passing day. He ran out of food after a week and a big wave struck his boat and knocked his case of water overboard.
Although he was off course, Moss claims, “I was never lost.” He said he purposefully drifted in a direction where he knew other vessels traveled so he could be found.
And that’s what happened. Another boater notified the Coast Guard Monday about the sinking vessel. A smaller Coast Guard boat brought Moss to shore, where Riviera Beach Fire Rescue paramedics met him and took him to St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach, the Coast Guard said.