English Boat Skipper Saves Exhausted Deer After Spotting Animal Half a Mile Out to Sea

Mark Bowditch spotted the lost deer while on a mackerel fishing charter near Weymouth, England, pulled the animal aboard, and got the tired creature back to shore

sea deer
Photo: SWNS (2)

A fishing boat skipper was shocked to find a young deer half a mile out to sea recently but knew he had to help the lost animal aboard and back to shore.

Mark Bowditch, 56, was on a mackerel fishing charter off the coast of Weymouth, England, when he spotted the animal paddling in water more than 160 feet deep.

The deer, which appeared to be a young red deer doe, was exhausted by the time it was brought onto the boat by Bowditch and his charter guest Morgan Lloyd.

"Initially, I just thought it was a basking shark swimming slowly across the surface," he said. "Then when I got a little bit closer, and it turned, I saw it had two ears!"

sea deer rescued

The event was observed closely by his partner Natasha and their three children, who were in the boat off Weymouth. Seeing the deer was in distress, Bowditch quickly brought his boat closer to the deer to bring the animal aboard.

"We got the mackerel lines in so it wouldn't get caught and then made a sort of lasso to catch it with," he said. "The current was going out, so it probably got caught in the tide and pulled out into the deep water."

sea deer rescued

"If we hadn't come across it, it would probably have just drowned," Bowditch added.

Deer are strong swimmers who often cross large rivers or parts of the sea to get past large roads or towns such as Weymouth.

"I've heard about deer swimming across Weymouth harbor before from other skippers, but I've never seen any," Bowditch said of the incident.

sea deer rescued

Bowditch, whose charter service is based on the pontoons in Weymouth near Bennett's chip shop, contacted harbor officials shortly after hauling the deer onto his boat. The officials helped the skipper unload the deer and release it near Nothe Gardens.

"It wasn't really ready to go because it was so tired, we tried to set it free by the trees, but it came back to us," Bowditch said. "I gave it some attention and then tried to scare it off a bit. Eventually, it ran off."

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