Two Florida teenagers are thanking God for answering their prayers after a boat named “Amen” rescued them after they were stranded in the middle of the ocean.
High school seniors Tyler Smith and Heather Brown were with a group of their classmates from Christ’s Church Academy when everyone went to Vilano Beach to celebrate senior skip day on April 18th.
Smith and Brown, who’ve been friends since they were 8 years old, separated from the group and spotted an island nearby.
When they tried to make a swim for it, they ended up getting stuck in the middle of the ocean for two hours and had to be rescued, which they attributed to a quick last-minute request to the man upstairs.
Via CBS News:
Smith said they first went for a red buoy a few dozen yards away, but the distance appeared to grow larger. He then told Brown they’d aim for the direction of the St. Augustine Lighthouse because of its proximity to the coastline — but that suddenly looked harder to do, too.
“We started to realize we were getting further away from the lighthouse rather than getting closer,” Smith told CBS News. “That’s when we started to freak out.”
“This current pushed us so far we couldn’t do it,” Brown added. “At that point, we knew were in trouble.”
Desperation was settling in and exhaustion started to become a factor. They linked arms and floated together; otherwise, Brown feared, “If we kept swimming, we would have drowned.” As they floated, they prayed for help.
“When we linked arms, honestly cried out to God, ‘If you’re out there, please send something to save us,'” Smith said. Around 30 minutes later, a boat en route from South Florida to New Jersey spotted them.
“It came out of nowhere,” Brown said. “When I saw it, I knew we were getting out of here.” At that point, her first thought was, “God is real.”
The crew on the boat hauled them in and gave them blankets to warm up. Captain Eric Wagner had a surprising yet fitting revelation for the teens — the boat’s name is the “Amen.” Both teenagers were safely returned to shore.
On Thursday, they spoke to the captain via Facetime for the first time since their encounter at sea. Smith said Wagner felt “God sent him there.”
“They weren’t even supposed to there,” Smith said of the boat. “The ocean was really bad that day. The water was really choppy but he and his crew decided to wait it out.”
With graduation weeks away and college on the horizon, the teens are thanking God and Captain Wagner for their rescue.
“He obviously has a plan for us,” Brown said. “We’re not supposed to leave this earth yet.”
The boat’s owner, Eric Wagner, wrote about the incident from his perspective on Facebook:
How scary! Hopefully, those two numb skulls learned their lesson and won’t be trying to swim across any more oceans anytime soon.