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Santa Barbara - South County

Two men rescued off Isla Vista shore after becoming stranded on ‘boat’ made of buckets, kiddie pools

isla vista water rescue handmade boat 1
Mike Eliason
isla vista water rescue handmade boat 2
Mike Eliason

ISLA VISTA, Calif. - Two non-engineering students in their 20s were rescued from the ocean near Isla Vista early Saturday morning after they were unable to return to shore in their homemade "boat."

The two men crafted their raft from 20 Home Depot buckets, a piece of plywood, some duct tape and two plastic kiddie pools. They then decided to launch out into the sea off Del Playa Drive and Camino Del Sur in the middle of the night.

Santa Barbara County Fire said the water was calm that night, but temperatures were still in the mid-50s and the men were not wearing wet suits.

As they attempted to maneuver their boat, the two found themselves pushed further and further from shore, up to about 300 yards, before a passerby saw the struggle and contacted County Fire for help around 2 a.m.

The fire department responded with two water rescue units, three engines, one truck and one battalion chief. An AMR ambulance was also dispatched to the area.

The water rescue teams sent out three rescue boarders while two personal watercraft were launched from Campus Point at UCSB.

The rescue boarders reportedly reached the men after about 30 minutes and brought them safely to shore.

The men were assessed by medics and determined to be uninjured.

Crews said alcohol was not a factor in this event.

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Jessica Brest

Jessica Brest is a digital journalist and assignment editor for NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Jessica, click here.

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