2 Suncoast men stranded at sea saved by Coast Guard

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Posted: Tuesday, May 7, 2013 12:16 pm | Updated: 9:02 pm, Tue Jun 4, 2013.

SARASOTA - Two Suncoast men who were stranded at sea are now safe and back home.

The men were delivering a boat from Sarasota to Freeport, Texas, but ran into some troubles along the way.

Paul Conner and Steven Kepecz found themselves stranded in the middle of the gulf with no cell reception, no fuel, no generator and dead batteries. But despite the circumstances, they say they never felt afraid.

Kepecz is a full-time realtor, part-time boat deliverer. Last Wednesday, he set out with his good friend Paul to deliver a 38-foot sport fishing boat to Texas. He says the trip was bad from the beginning. There was bad weather on Wednesday and on Thursday the engine started giving them problems.

On Friday night, the starboard engine gave out, the batteries on the boat died and while they were hoping to make it to Pensacola, with no working generator on board, that didn't happen. They dropped anchor overnight and tried everything they could on Saturday to get the boat back up and running, unsuccessfully.

Luckily, Coast Guard answered their mayday calls and came to their rescue.

“For me the ordeal was something I knew would end sooner or later. My father was commercial fisherman. Many nights I sat with mom waiting for that call. We know what it's like to wait patiently and get out of something. If there had been danger, I’m sure my factor would have been much higher. I had plenty of water and food,” says Steven Kepecz.

Paul’s wife felt that something was wrong and also called the Coast Guard.

While Steven says he didn't feel he was in any imminent danger, he says he is thankful for the Coast Guard and their quick action.

The boat has not been recovered yet.

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