Andrew and Jack Sherman jumped into action when they realized the boat was missing its captain


When they noticed a rogue boat drifting nearby, a father and son deep-sea fishing off the coast of North Carolina quickly jumped into action — likely saving a man's life in the process.

Andrew Sherman and his son Jack were some 40 miles offshore this week when they noticed a boat heading straight toward their own, they told NBC affiliate WSLS.

"As the boat passes 15 yards behind our stern, we look in, and there's a little cabin in front, so you can't totally see what's going on, but you can easily see the pilot house where the guy would be driving," Jack told the outlet. "There's no one standing there."

Afraid that the captain may have suffered some sort of medical emergency, the pair quickly caught up to the boat, and Jack hopped on board, looking for signs of life.

"I yell at my dad, and I'm like, 'Dad, there's nobody on the boat!' And he's like, 'Really? Check again?' It's not that big of a boat, 'cause it's so crazy…," Jack told WSLS.

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Once they realized the boat truly was without a captain, the men jumped into action and alerted the Coast Guard, because, as Jack explained to the outlet, "every minute you're out there, your chance of survival decreases drastically."

Though the Coast Guard put out a call for a man overboard, that wasn't suffice for Andrew, a lifelong fisherman, and Jack, a Naval Academy student.

"We didn't know how long the Coast Guard was going to take to get there," Andrew told WSLS. "And I was like, 'Jack, we gotta look for this guy until the Coast Guard gets out here and tells us to stop.'"

Eventually, they came upon the captain's deck boots floating in the water, and used the boat's GPS to retrace his path.

 "I figured out which way the boat was drifting in the water and then I went back to the last place that the boat had been on a straight line and when I got back to that straight line, I more or less started doing these big Ss back and forth," Andrew explained to WSLS.

It took only a few passes for them to find Sascha Scheller floating in the water, waving his hands to draw their attention as he headed into his third hour of treading water to stay afloat.

"He said his legs were locking up and he was cramping really badly, and he just laid there on the back of the deck and recovered a little bit, and then he came in and we hugged," Andrew recalled. "He was like, thank you for saving my life."

Scheller, who has two young daughters, reportedly wrote on social media that he was knocked overboard after briefly taking off his life jacket, a "mistake" he hoped others would take care not to make.