'Ghost Ship' Washes Ashore on Florida Beach One Week After It Was Abandoned At Sea amid Storms

Michael Barlow's dreams of exploring the world have hit a major snag after he was forced to abandon his sailboat



A so-called “ghost ship” that washed ashore in Florida has been traced to one man who dreamed of sailing around the world.

The mysterious sailboat was found on June 18 on the shore of a Pensacola beach, according to NBC News and CBS affiliate WKMG-TV.

Michael Barlow told ABC affiliate WEAR-TV that he and a friend were attempting to travel 884 miles from Fort Pierce, Florida, to Texas the week prior when they ran into inclement weather and sought rescue.

Barlow said he wanted to “explore the world” on the boat, called The Lady Catherine III, alongside his wife and 9-year-old son, per NBC News. Now, those dreams are dashed.

“This is the only way I could take my son and show him there’s a whole world out there, beyond what’s in America,” Barlow explained. “It’s the only way to do this realistically until this happened.”

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Barlow and his friend left Fort Pierce on The Lady Catherine III on May 21, according to NBC News.

After battling storms for three days, Barlow told WEAR-TV he finally made contact with the U.S. Coast Guard using his Garmin satellite device’s SOS system. He believes the device may have saved their lives.

However, Barlow said authorities told him they were three hours away and that he would ultimately have to abandon the vessel. Barlow agreed, according to WEAR-TV.

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Once Barlow and his friend connected with the Coast Guard, rescue swimmer Richard Hoefle leaped from a helicopter and swam to the duo.

“It was like a movie,” Barlow recalled. “Bro jumped in out of a helicopter in these mad big seas and swam over to us with nothing but snorkel gear on.”

One week later, The Lady Catherine III washed ashore. Francine Farrar was one of the first people to spot the vessel and found Barlow on social media, according to WEAR-TV.

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"I've been talking to him all day trying to help him out," Farrar said. "People have been stealing stuff off the boat."

Barlow now has two options, according to NBC News. He can either pay $20,000 to have the sailboat taken to dry dock for repairs, or pay $28,000 to have the vessel moved and demolished.

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“If we’re talking about business numbers, it’d make more sense to scrap the boat,” Barlow explained. “That’s just the stone-cold truth.”

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Barlow is reportedly now working with officials from Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Department to determine next steps. He also launched a GoFundMe campaign to help recover the vessel.

Fish and Wildlife officials said Barlow has 30 days, starting from the day he was issued a citation for the boating incident, to move the vessel, according to NBC News.

Barlow said this incident “definitely did not shake my resolve as far as sailing goes,” and plans to continue to pursue his dream of sailing around the world.

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