SALEM (CBS) — Two men were rescued Saturday morning in Salem Harbor after spending around 15 hours sitting on top of an overturned sailboat.

The two wound up stranded after the boat capsized Friday afternoon

George Reynolds and Fred Schaeffer of New Hampshire, were on their way to Boston when they found the wind was too strong and turned back.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Karen Twomey reports

“The boat capsized around 4:30 Friday afternoon and we were in the water in about two seconds,” Reynolds told WBZ NewsRadio 1030. “My friend has a cell phone but they don’t work too good when they’re dunked in the ocean.”

Reynolds said the two put a plank across the overturned vessel and huddled together for warmth. They hoped they could flag down another vessel but there weren’t a lot of boats on the harbor.

With sunset coming fast and stranded two miles from shore, they knew their best chance was to stay on the boat.

After a few hours, they realized the only hope they had was to pray.

“We prayed out to God that he would calm the waves and the wind,” Reynolds said. “I remember in the beginning praying that and then a big rogue wave came and almost knocked me off the board and I said ‘this isn’t working.'”

Reynolds said after that, the boat shifted and things got a little better.

“We decided to sit back to back and that really helped,” Reynolds said. “We started doing exercises, like rowing, to try to get our heart rates going and try to keep warm.”

Reynolds said they kept their arms close to their bodies to keep warm.

“We realized panic wasn’t a good option and we just prayed,” Reynolds said. “I just tried to focus on praying and dealing with the situation and that certainly helped get through the tougher times. Things would shift and we would actually get warm.”

Salem’s Assistant Harbormaster Mark Cassola said the crew of the boat “Fishy Business” out of Beverly spotted the two boaters around 7:20 a.m. and contacted officials.

The two were taken to shore and checked out by paramedics.

Salem Fire officials say both men were slightly hypothermic, but were in good condition.

“I got back in my car, turned on my heater, got some water, got some breakfast at McDonalds and we just ate in the car and we felt a lot better. After a hot cup of coffee and I could tell we were definitely out of danger,” Reynolds said.


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