Dog Steers Ship to Shore After Owner Goes Overboard

Pooch in boat washes ashore in Pompano after owner swims to beach

By Brian Hamacher and Todd Wright
|  Tuesday, Sep 28, 2010  |  Updated 6:48 PM EDT
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That's Captain Sea Dog to you.

That's Captain Sea Dog to you.

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Man Tossed Overboard Speaks About Swim

James Land says he thought about his boat and his dog while swimming a mile back to shore after being tossed overboard.
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You've heard of dogs playing poker for fun, but what about boating?

A pooch that became stranded at sea on a boat after his owner fell off the side made it safely to shore in Pompano Beach Tuesday

The dog's wild ride happened about a mile off shore, when owner James Land was thrown overboard.

"The wave hit me and flipped me off the side of the boat," Land said. "I was just hoping the dog was still on the boat."

The rough seas being caused by a tropical storm rolling in pounded the small boat. The dog, Lucy, was left alone on the small fishing vessel, and Land couldn't get back to the boat.

Never fear. Capt. Lucy was there. The sea dog navigated the boat to shore, but didn't set paw on dry land. Instead, Lucy curled up in the corner, still wet and shivering from the voyage.

"When we came down to the boat, the engine was still running so my dad went in the boat to turn it off and he saw a dog," said Kaitlyn Stallings, a girl who was on the beach with her family and saw the boat come ashore. "It was shivering and he was cold and he was wet and he stuck his head out the back of the boat."

Mean while, Land was still in the distance hanging onto a buoy. He said he waved at a passing helicopter, but it kept going. With no one coming to his rescue, Land decided to swim for it. 

It took him about 40 minutes to make it back and he didn't even have to doggy paddle.

"It was just one of those things," Land said. "The whole time I was thinking, 'Where's my boat?' At least I'm alive."

The boat made its way to shore, finally making land at the 1200 block of N. Ocean Blvd.

Stalling was clutching the still-shivering Lucy when Land walked up the beach to reclaim him.

"We saw a guy soaking wet walking on the beach and we said, 'Hey, is this your boat?'" Stallings said. "He came and saw his dog again. Happy ending."

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