POINT LOMA (CBS 8) - It was anything but an ordinary day at sea for the captains of the charter fishing vessel "Vendetta" in Point Loma, after coming upon a man stranded at sea after his skiff capsized.
Late Thursday morning, as the charter boat was returning from a fishing expedition, one of the passengers on board heard faint, but fearful, cries for help coming from somewhere in the choppy waters.
"One of the passengers noticed that a skiff had turned over, so we went up to the scene," said Captain Ray Summer.
That 16-foot-skiff had taken on water in the turbulent conditions and flipped over, dumping the sole occupant of the small craft overboard without a life jacket. As the Vendetta approached, the man - clutching a flotation cushion - was desperately climbing onto the hull of the overturned skiff.
"He was definitely scared at that point," said Captain Nick Lambert."He was holding on for his life."
"I remember trying to call to him, but I think the shock had set in," Lambert added. "He didn't really move or talk."
After contacting the Coast Guard to alert them to the situation, Lambert then hurled a life ring 30 feet into the water toward the stranded man.
"I'm going to throw this to you... Be sure to grab on!" Lambert said he called out the victim. "I literally got (the life preserver) right behind him and he was able to reach over with his arm. I said 'Hold on tight man: we're gonna pull you in!'"
Minutes later, with the help of some passengers on board, Lambert managed to pull the man up and on board the Vendetta.
"I kept asking him, 'Are you okay? Is there anything wrong with you?'" Lambert said. "He kept holding his chest. I wanted to make sure he wasn't having a stroke, but it was mainly shock."
Shaken - but physically fine - the grateful boatsman did not need to go to the hospital, but did learn a lesson, according to the vessel's captains.
"He himself said he never thought that would happen," Lambert added. "But since it did, it opened his eyes to be a little more conscientious when you're going out there by yourself."