Irondequoit Bay sailing adventure turns into unforgettable experience for 5 kids

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MONROE COUNTY, N.Y. — What began as a routine trip for the kids aboard a Roc City Sailing tour of the bay ended up being anything but ordinary. But thanks to sailor training and a few good Samaritans, everyone made it back to the dock safely.

“The boat completely turtled, which means that the boat went completely upside down — where the mast is pointing down and the hull is above the water,” said Roc City Sailing skipper Steven Rozella. That’s how he describes the moment his sailboat carrying five kids on a tour late Thursday afternoon suddenly capsized.

“There was a storm a ways away off to the north. That kind of cleared and passed and we were heading south with the boat,” Rozella said.

A sudden gust of wind caught the sail, sending everyone overboard — a moment when Rozella says his training and instincts kicked in. making sure everyone was accounted for.

“Three of them were outside the boat with me, and then two of them were underneath the boat. So once I went up under there, they were good, they just went out from under the boat and joined up,” he said.

Roc City Sailing board member Jim Malecki was across the bay when he saw the sailboat capsize. He says he’s grateful for nearby neighbors who sprung into action.

“There were a few good Samaritans ahead of time that were able to get the people off, and we just saw the boat and decided to get it back here, so we were going to ride and put it back in its hoist,” Malecki said.

Draining the water from the sailboat, Malecki said he still can’t believe how quickly things went from good to bad.

“In about five minutes. you look toward the north where it seemed to come from. and the sun was shining. Five minutes later, I turn my head and say to myself, where did that black cloud come from?” Malecki said.

These are reasons why Rozella hopes everyone will remember how important it is to wear a life jacket. rain or shine.

“It’s better to be able to float around than to have to swim, because you never know when you are going to catch an injury. It can make the difference between a serious serious injury, drowning, or living,” Rozella said.

One girl was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital with minor injuries as a precaution.

According to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, everyone on board was wearing life jackets, which goes to show how important those can be, even on a sunny day.