Cheap rope credited with saving boater during tornado

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Boaters on Percy Priest Lake have different stories of survival after an EF-1 tornado ripped through Four Corners Marina.

Ray Pesz credits a cheap piece of rope for saving his boat and possibly even his life. He was sleeping in the cabin of his 43-foot Sea Ray when the storm hit Wednesday.

“Fortunately, I had alerts go off telling me basically it was headed straight for the marina,” Pesz said.

Before he knew it, he heard the tornado scream past his boat. A few minutes later, he looked outside.

“At the time, I didn’t know I was adrift. When I came out I was disoriented, because I didn’t see anything familiar. I was actually against that far bank.”

Pesz says his boat had been tied to his slip with a piece of cheap rope that snapped because of the wind.

More reliable marine rope costs more and would have likely kept him in place.

That’s usually a good thing but in this case, the neighboring boats did stay in place and didn’t fare so well.

Some nearby boats sustained heavy damage, and one just a few feet away sank as a result of the tornado.

Pesz is disabled and gets around with crutches and a scooter. So if his boat were to sink, he would have been in trouble.

“It very well saved my boat and possibly even me because it did break,” explained Pesz. “It allowed the wind to blow my boat out of the slip it was in as the roof crumbled behind me.”

Pesz has been spending a lot of time on the water for nearly 30 years. He plans to get back into his boat, and onto the water, as soon as he can.

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