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Retired Police Officer and Paramedic Respond to Boating Emergency

Hero Greg

Retired Tampa police officer, Greg Haffle, knows first hand that emergencies can occur in the most remote locations. On Aug. 1, as he was out scalloping off the coast of Homosassa with Philip Plumley, a  paramedic with Moffitt,  they heard an emergency call from a boater in distress on channel 16. The Coast Guard helicopter could not reach the victim for at least 30 minutes.  Knowing that a quick response is critical and hearing that no other boats responded, Greg contacted the Coast Guard to obtain their coordinates. Once locating them, Philip and Greg’s son, Jeremiah,  jumped in the water and swam to the other boat while the victim’s wife and son-in-law looked on with relief to see people coming to their aid.  When Philip and Jermiah arrived, they found a 70-plus-year-old man unresponsive. He was in full cardiac arrest, not breathing and had no pulse.  Philip and Jeremiah began CPR for the 10 mile journey.

 It took them 25 minutes to reach the shore, and unfortunately, the patient could not be revived.  He had open heart surgery and other health issues. Greg reflected after the incident, “Although we couldn’t save him, the man died doing something he loved – fishing and boating. My other thought was if only I would have had an AED, he’d had a better chance.” 

Not all boaters in emergency situations are fortunate enough to have skilled rescuers as Greg and Philip nearby. There are some simple precautions all boaters can take to be prepared for emergencies and know life-saving basics while on the water. 

Leslie Roberts of Altra Medical congratulates Greg, Jeremiah and Philip on their heroic effort to save this person’s life.  There is no greater gift one can give to someone than to try save their life. 

Boating Season Safety Checklist

  • Does everyone on your boat knows how to call the Coast Guard and give them accurate coordinates?
  • Do you and your passengers know how to do CPR?
  • Do you have a First Aid Kit and an AED on board?


 Greg and his companians quickly responded to the distress call from his boat the 30 Ft. RNQ.




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