H-MORRO BAY

Mar 30, 2012 2:48 AM by Ariel Wesler

Two boaters rescued after boat capsizes

The Coast Guard rescued the two men early Thursday morning after a rogue wave hit their sailboat near Morro Bay shortly after midnight. The sailboat rolled over south of the harbor entrance, breaking its mast.

Paul Bloch and Ken Price never expected their sailing trip from Marina Del Rey to San Francisco to catch a snag in Morro Bay.

"It knocked me out of the boat," Bloch said.

A rogue wave took the two men by surprise and rolled the boat.

"Flipped all the way around in slow motion. It was very surrealistic and everything in there was flying," Price said.

Swimming for his life, Bloch reached the boat safely and got back into the boat with his buddy, but their problems were just beginning as they inched closer to the surfline. Both men soon realized the sailboat had a broken mast and had lost all power, including the radios and GPS

"We had a handheld radio that we found and saved our lives," Bloch said.

When the men were out there, it was around midnight, so not only did they have to compete with the darkness, but heavy fog and high surf.

"The ocean's an unforgiving place," said Morro Bay Harbor Director Eric Endersby. "You've got a lot of factors out there, and they got caught behind the wrong ones."

The boaters sent out a mayday, set off a flare, and help arrived just 10 minutes later. The two were able to anchor their sailboat outside the Morro Bay harbor before being rescued.

"My God, when we saw the flares in the sky that the coast guard was near, it was such an extraordinary experience," Bloch said.

An experience they say they can share because they kept their cool while being tossed at sea.

"Just don't panic. That's what gets people. We didn't and we're here," Price said.

The Morro Bay Harbor Patrol says it's been a couple of years since they've had an incident like this one. They advise boaters to always check the weather conditions before heading out and check with local marine agencies once in route.

The stranded sailboat was hauled down to Port San Luis before being pulled out of the water.

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