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Recreational boater finds drunk man on pool float a mile out to sea

June 24, 2010 | 11:41 am

If you needed proof that alcohol and ocean excursions aren't a good combo, check out the above video.

Beau Zimmer, of CBS affiliate WTSP-TV, Tampa Bay, Fla., reports on a recreational boater who on Wednesday discovered an unconscious man on a pool float about a mile offshore Belleair Beach, Fla., in the Gulf of Mexico.

"He didn't respond to our boat horns, he didn't respond to our yells and we were pretty close," said Tim Ramsberger, of Treasure Island, Fla., who was out on his 22-foot boat with his father. "At first we thought it was just some debris floating in the water."

Thinking the man might be dead, Ramsberger called 911 after making the discovery, summoning  the United States Coast Guard.

Coast Guard crews arrived to the area and found the man, identified as 48-year-old Jerry Whipple, of Largo, Fla., to be severely intoxicated after waking up.

"He was sitting on a small pool raft. Had no idea where he was, didn't know what time of day it was, how long he was out for, or even how far offshore he was," said Coast Guard Petty Officer Brodie MacDonald.

Whipple was transported to a local hospital and later released. No word yet on if he'll face any charges.

-- Kelly Burgess

Video credit: WTSP-TV, Tampa Bay, Fla.

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