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Sea Tow Blog

News, press, tips and more can be found in the Sea Tow Blog. Have a suggestion for a story? Email us!

Furry First Mate Survives Shipwreck to Reunite with Owner


Like many of his fellow boaters, Florida’s Shane Hale had always dreamt of a life at sea. That distinct smell of salt water in the air, the feeling of the wind flowing through his hair – he just couldn’t escape the urge to leave his old life behind and set sail. That is, until one day when Shane decided to take the plunge and sell all of his belongings to turn his dream into a reality.

Late last month, Shane gathered up the bare necessities, raised his sail and set out to sea with his best friend – a furry first mate named Harley. Unfortunately, just three miles off-shore from Englewood, Shane and Harley found themselves caught in a nasty storm. Through heavy winds and rough waters, their plan to sail around the world came crashing down. Within a matter of minutes, the boat’s engines failed, and its boom snapped in half, knocking Shane unconscious as his boat began to sink. Somewhere in the midst of the chaos, Harley went overboard.

When Shane came to, he was in a full-blown panic. At that point, he no longer cared about his boat – Shane just wanted to find his dog. Minutes later, Captain Craig Marcum and his crew at Sea Tow Venice arrived on scene to help; but Shane was inconsolable. Harley was nowhere to be found.

“Shane was very adamant about finding his dog,” said Capt. Craig. “He kept saying, ‘Let’s find the dog. Forget the boat, I just want my dog.’ I can’t tell you how distraught he was.”

Even though he and his boat were towed back to shore safely, Shane couldn’t stand the thought of losing his furry friend. Willing to try everything, he went to social media to ask for the public’s help.

The next day, he received a call. Someone had found Harley on a nearby beach. The determined dog braved the elements, swimming three miles through 10-foot waves and surviving a full day on the beach. It was nothing short of a miracle.

After spending a night at the vet, Harley is back to his old self and in his owner’s arms. Shane may have lost everything, but he still has his best friend – and for him, that’s all that matters.

Watch the emotional reunion in the video below, captured by Florida’s ABC7 in Sarasota.

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