Two U.S. boaters wash up in Boca Raton after being stranded at sea for three days

BOCA RATON, Fla. - Two men have washed up onto a Boca Raton beach after being stranded at sea between Florida and the Bahamas, according to Boca Raton Fire Rescue.

Michael Ayres, 46, said he was headed toward Bimini from Islamorada on noon Saturday when his 41-foot boat, named The Lady Rosalee, started to sink from rough waters. Both Ayres and his deckmate, 19-year-old Steffon Moore, immediately grabbed gallons of water and some snacks and jumped in their dinghy.

Soon after, Ayres said he shot four flares, but no one came to help. That's when they began to row.

The two were drifting in the small life boat without a motor for three days when they came ashore around 6:20 a.m. Tuesday in the 750 block of South Ocean Boulevard in Boca Raton, according to Frank Correggio, Boca Raton Fire Rescue spokesperson.

The fire station is just five blocks away.

Inside their small, fiberglass dinghy there were two life jackets, a life preserver, a five gallon bucket and a bag of Chips Ahoy! cookies.

"It's a small, I would say 8 to 10 foot little dinghy type boat," said Sandra Boonenberg, Boca Raton Police spokesperson. "There is not much to it."

The Boca Raton Police Department suspected they were undocumented migrants when they were first discovered, but after making contact with them, police determined they were U.S. citizens.

"It's kind of exciting for everybody," said Correggio. "We're just glad that the outcome was good, that both people made it ashore and that they seem to be okay. So that's our concern"

They are both in good condition and in good spirits and have been taken to Boca Raton Regional Hospital to be treated for dehydration, exposure to sun, hypothermia and rhabdomyalysis (a breakdown of the muscles), according to Correggio.

Ayres describes himself as a snowbird from Michigan.

Additional reporting from Ashleigh Walters and Marissa Bagg.

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