‘We were doing what others would do’

Two Captiva Cruises captains receive Good Samaritan E-Award

Published in the Sanibel-Captiva Islander Sept. 9, 2015 issue

Captain Skip Laney and Captain Brian Holaway did what they said anyone would have done in their position offer a helping hand.

“We were just doing what others would do . . . anyone else in that situation would have done the same thing,” Holaway said.

Captain Brian Holaway
Captain Brian Holaway

The two Captiva Cruises captains received the Good Samaritan E-Award on Thursday, Aug. 27, at Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa. The Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau began the award to “increase public awareness of the outstanding customer service being provided by Lee County hospitality professionals.”

What started off as a normal day taking visitors and residents to Cayo Costa turned into one of adventure.

Captain Skip Laney
Captain Skip Laney

Laney said there was an empty sailboat in the middle of Pine Island Sound that left them both questioning the situation.

The captains had a full cruise with passengers that day, so they instantly created a plan that would ensure the safety of those on the boat, while checking out what looked to be an abandoned sailboat.

“I have the responsibility of 20 people and for what we see,” Holaway said, adding that they always have to have a backup plan in that type of situation.

The two captains began constant communication as they neared the sailboat. They eventually spotted an older woman in her 70s about a mile away from the small sailboat in Pine Island Sound.

“Every paddle she took, the boat kept going” in the other direction, Holaway said.

When you “see someone in the water you get them out,” Laney said of the woman who was wearing a life jacket. “She was pretty exhausted.”

As they neared the woman, the constant communication continued. Holaway gave the woman a rope, which she grabbed as he brought her around to the side of the boat where a ladder was dropped into the water.

Once she climbed onto the boat, they learned that she was not alone. Her husband, who was on the beach, found a private boater that helped tow the boat back in. The woman was left with her husband, as the passengers were taken back to the marina.

“The couple could not say enough good things about the captains and all they had done. I’m proud to nominate them as they are always professional, humble, and rarely share their heroic deeds with others. I believe their exceptional operational and leadership skills, combined with their quick thinking and compassion, very possibly saved this woman’s life,” Lisa Sbuttoni, with Captiva Cruises, said in a prepared statement.

Holaway became a captain in 1995 and began working at Captiva Cruises in 1996. He said he really enjoys traveling to Cayo Coasta and meeting different people on the cruises.

Laney received his master’s license seven years ago and began working at Captiva Cruises three years ago. He said he began working on boats at the age of 13.

Laney loves being on the water because every day and every trip is different.



Here are some pictures from Captiva Cruises Dolphin Watch & Wildlife Adventure Cruise