News Releases

Lieutenant paddles 2 miles, rescues missing canoeists

News Release

Monday, June 28, 2010

Media contact: Gabriella B. Ferraro, 772-215-9459

It was well past dark on Saturday night, and two teenaged brothers were missing after taking out their canoe on the Loxahatchee River in Jonathan Dickinson State Park. Lt. Steve Sheridan with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) was off-duty when he heard dispatch advise of the situation. The brothers had separated from their group and never made it to Riverbend Park.

Lt. Sheridan reported for duty, then drove around the area and attempted to make contact with the missing canoeists, but there was no response. By 10 p.m., the brothers had been missing for several hours. Lt. Sheridan quickly launched his own canoe and paddled approximately two miles, calling out for the missing canoeists every few minutes. At approximately 11:40 p.m., one of the brothers called back. He advised that both were OK. Lt. Sheridan paddled up to the brothers and gave them some bottled water.

Too tired to paddle back to themselves, the brothers had to be towed back to safety. Lt. Sheridan attached their canoe to his canoe, and paddled back to Trapper Nelson's camp. Deputies and resources from the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office and Martin County Sheriff's Office also assisted. Just after midnight, Lt. Sheridan and the teens arrived back at the boat ramp, where they were met by their parents. The teens did not require medical treatment.

The FWC advises all boaters, to always make safety a priority. Leave a float plan with someone you can depend on. Always wear life vests when on the water.

For boating safety tips, visit

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