Calhoun County Sheriff Bobbie Vickery confirmed the name of the missing boater in Port O’Connor as Tom Followwill, 22, of Victoria.

Followwill’s body was found at 8:30 a.m. Saturday north of Grass Island, he said. The cause of death was drowning.

The Coast Guard began searching for Followwill on Friday morning. Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi watchstanders received a call at 7:18 a.m. Friday from a good Samaritan who had spotted a man stranded on Grass Island.

The fisherman was rescued by a Station Port O’Connor boat crew and informed them that he and a friend became stranded after their boat drifted away. The fisherman last saw his friend attempting to swim out to retrieve their boat.

Vickery advised people to not depend on mechanical anchors because the machinery can fail. The best bet, he said, is to use an conventional anchor and a rope.

Vickery also urged people to not swim after drifting boats and instead get to land and call someone to help retrieve the boat.

This is about the fourth time in a year someone has drowned trying to retrieve a drifting boat, he said.

“Don’t chase the boat. It is so dangerous. You can’t keep up with a drifting boat,” he said. “Let it go.”

Amber Aldaco reports on regional counties for the Victoria Advocate. She may be reached at or 361-580-6303.

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