But two days after setting sail for Key West, the Colorado couple’s dreams sank along with their boat, which capsized off the coast of Florida.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, Broadwell and Marsh had spent years planning and saving for the 28-foot sailboat.
They spent nearly $10,000 to buy and upgrade the 49-year-old boat, which they sailed along the Gulf Coast from Alabama to Florida. It was during this trip the couple learned to sail.
On the evening of Wednesday, February 8, the inexperienced sailors were heading to dock at the small fishing village, John’s Pass. That’s when their ship, the Lagniappe, struck something underwater — and began rapidly taking on water.
It’s not just amateurs who have difficulty with this particular channel, according to ABC Action News: Kenny Keen, a local charter boat captain, told ABC that “several experienced captains” have hit the sandbars there, particularly after storms shift the channel.
After an hour, a rescue crew finally reached the Lagniappe. But the water was too shallow for the ship to get close. The couple had to abandon ship. Before jumping over, Walsh was able to salvage their social security cards, a little cash, her phone, and Broadwell’s ID. Most of their belongings had already floated away.
Their pug, Remy, also made it out unscathed.
“I sold everything I had to do this,” Broadwell told the Tampa Bay Times, “and I lost everything in a matter of 20 minutes.”
To make matters worse, Broadwell and Marsh will be responsible for cleaning up the wreckage. The Tampa Bay Times reported that this could cost up to $10,000 — and that the couple did not have insurance.
“The boat sank, but our dreams didn’t sink with the boat,” Walsh told ABC. After they’re back on their feet, the couple plans to buy a new boat.