As he swam toward the coast of Nantucket, Mass., in August 2008, Scott Douglas watched his yellow fishing boat disappear and thought it would be the last time he'd ever see the Queen Bee - a 26-foot center console fishing boat made by Regulator.
But earlier this week, more than three years after Douglas, 58, and his brother-in-law were tossed off the boat by a wave, the U.S. Coast Guard called to say the vessel had washed up on the Spanish coast. It was rusty and covered in barnacles, but intact.
“It looks entirely different,” Douglas told MSNBC.com upon seeing photos of his boat. “That's amazing.”
Douglas remembers that the water was restless on the day he set out to sea and the fish weren't biting. He tried to keep the boat stationary, bracing himself as huge rollers crashed into it.
Eventually, a rogue wave knocked Douglas and his brother-in-law, Rich St. Pierre, off the boat.
Douglas swam for about an hour and made it to shore on Smith's Point, a beach off the coast of Nantucket. He walked up to a cabin and asked to use the phone to alert the Coast Guard. Not long afterward, he saw St. Pierre walking on dry land.
Lt. Joe Klinker, a Coast Guard spokesman, told MSNBC.com the most likely scenario is that the boat somehow got across the continental shelf and into the Gulf Stream.
He said it's rare, but not unheard of, for an object off the coast of the United States to drift across the Atlantic to Europe. But a boat? “I've never heard of anything like this,” Klinker said.
The ability to withstand the hardships of the Atlantic has a lot to do with the make of the boat, Klinker said. “It probably could have floated for another three years,” he said.
“We had the privilege of speaking with the owner, Scott Douglas, earlier today. God is good. Both Mr. Douglas and his brother-in-law were OK,” Regulator president Joan Maxwell said in an e-mail to Soundings Trade Only. “To have this boat show up three and a half years [later], all the way across the Atlantic, is nothing short of amazing. This is a testament to the great hull design by Lou Codega and our dedicated manufacturing team.”