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Missing boater in Martin County found alive and safe, MCSO says

Justin Skiff
Posted at 9:05 AM, Jan 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-09 05:50:13-05

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — The U.S. Coast Guard says crews found a missing boater safe and alive Wednesday morning after he was overdue from the St. Lucie Inlet.

The Martin County Sheriff's Office tweeted around 11 a.m. that 29-year-old Justin Skiff was located a few miles offshore following an intense search.

"We have a good story," said Sheriff William Snyder. "We have a story that really could've ended in tragedy, and we could've had such a different outcome."

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Skiff was reported overdue in a 14-foot white aluminum skiff near the St. Lucie Inlet, which is located in Martin County.

The Martin County Sheriff's Office said Skiff left Sandsprit Park around 12 p.m. Tuesday to go fishing offshore. When he didn't return by 8 p.m., his family contacted law enforcement.

After nearly 24 hours of searching, including throughout the night, Sheriff Snyder said Skiff was located around 11 a.m. Wednesday.

"He's pretty beat up," said Sheriff Snyder. "It was really just the elements. It was the current, the waves, the wind. He just wasn't making any headway."

Skiff's sister said he's been boating since he was 6 years old, and was very experienced on the water.

"It definitely could've turned out a lot worse," said Kayla Skiff, who added her brother is exhausted and beaten down. "Our entire family is really, really happy and thankful that he's home today."