ENGLEWOOD, FL (WWSB) - A local boater says he's now counting his blessings after getting stuck in a storm this past weekend and almost losing everything, including his first mate.
Shane Hale sold everything he owned and was planning on sailing around the world with just the necessities and his dog, Harley.
In an emotional video, Hale describes that night on the boat, saying, "Everything that I sold and everything that I own is going to be gone. My boom broke off the top; it knocked me out when it did. I got a bungee cord, and I'm waiting for the U.S. Coast Guard to come and see if they save me I guess... And I lost my dog."
Hale was caught in a storm Saturday night three miles off of Englewood. His engines weren't working and he was spinning in circles. His boom was destroyed and the boat was sinking. But the only thing he cared about when help arrived was saving Harley, who had fallen overboard.
"The owner was very adamant about, 'Let's find the dog. Forget the boat, I just want my dog.' I can't tell you how distraught he was," explained Craig Marcum, from Sea Tow Venice.
Hale survived the storm and was towed back to shore by Sea Tow Venice and the U.S. Coast Guard, but Harley was still nowhere in sight.
"At that point in time, even though those guys just spent all that work on [the boat] to bring me and it back to land, I wanted to put a hole in it, and just trade it off for my dog,” Shane told ABC7.
That's when he went to social media asking for the public's help. Less than 24 hours later, he received a call that Harley was found at Manasota Beach. He swam close to three miles in 10-foot waves and survived a full day on the beach - which marine experts say is a miracle.
"I'm in the back of my boat during this time as I've lost my dog and I'm crying and praying to God and yelling at him for taking my dog. It's almost like I feel like he was taken from me, and he was taken. But then, God listened to everybody's prayers, so he gave him back, and I know from the bottom of my heart that it's because of all these people that prayed for him and that's why I got my dog back," Hale explained.
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