The aftermath of Saturday’s boat crash

Three inexperienced sailors who crashed their boat into the marina breakwater on Saturday evening may owe their lives to Marina del Rey Harbor Patrol deputies Josh May and Glenn Maska. Battered by gale-force winds that had triggered small craft warnings and pushed the doomed vessel on the rocks, the deputies performed a difficult water rescue to bring the men to safety with relatively minor injuries.

As May piloted the rescue boat to keep it a safe and steady distance from the breakwater, bow facing away from the rocks, Maska secured a life vest to a tow rope and tossed it to the stranded sailors. One by one Maska dragged each man through the waves to the rear of the boat, with May killing the engines intermittently to keep the engine’s propeller from slicing the victims all the while steering barely clear of the rocks.

“This just shows May’s incredible skill as a boat operator … and Maska really thinking on his feet to tie the line to the lifejacket and use his strength to pull them hand-over-hand through the water,” said Marina del Rey Sheriff’s Station Sgt. Brent Carlson. “And then to do that two more times!”

One of the crash victims suffered a deep and bloody cut on his leg; two escaped with just scrapes and bruises. Maska is being examined for a back injury. By Monday most of the boat had been smashed to pieces, and by Tuesday morning it had completely disintegrated. When the owner called to ask about removing it from the rocks, said Carlson, “I told him Mother Nature had taken care of it.”

— Joe Piasecki