Palm Beach News

Missing Teen Boaters: Moms on Today Show

Today, the search for missing teen boys Perry Cohen and Austin Stephanos continues, with rescue operations focused near Savannah, Georgia. 

Mothers of the teen boys appeared on the Today Show this morning and insisted that the boys have the skills to survive their ordeal at sea. The boys have been missing since they set out onto the Atlantic Ocean in a 19-foot boat on Friday as a thunderstorm approached. The boat was found Sunday, but not the boys. Families are hoping they fashioned floatation devices out of a cooler and an engine cover that are missing from the boat. 

Austin's mom, Carly Black, said she believed the boys were headed offshore to fish, not to the Bahamas, as reported by some outlets. "We are gonna ask them when they get in what happened, because this isn't normal," she said. She said the boat was Austin's fourth. 

Perry's mom addressed the criticism from commenters who have doubted whether the boys should have been allowed to drive boats on the ocean alone: "We live in a boating community... They're on boats all the time, they're fishing all the time, they're on docks all the time." She likened their knowledge to kids who grow up on farms who hunt or drive tractors. 
Yesterday a fund was set up to help the private search-and-rescue efforts. 

In hours, it had raised $33,000 of its stated $55,000 goal, with $10,000 coming from art dealer David Rogath of Chalk and Vermillion Fine Art and $8,000 coming from Alain Perez, whose tenting company Eventstar is used for art fairs. Perry's stepfather is a cofounder of numerous art fairs, including satellites to Art Basel. 

The page at GoFund Me reads: 
Perry Cohen and Austin Stephanos are lost at sea since Friday, July 24, and were last seen leaving the Jupiter Inlet in a 19-foot Sea Craft boat.

The families would like to thank everyone for their prayers, support and well wishes that their sons, Perry and Austin are rescued and returned home safely.

Many people have asked how they can contribute to the rescue effort.

"The Perry & Austin Rescue Fund" will be utilized to fund private aircraft, boat fuel and any other additional resources needed for the immediate recovery of these missing boys.

Should there be any surplus funds at the conclusion of the search and rescue efforts, they will be directed to aid in similar activity that will benefit saving lives in related situations.

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Deirdra Funcheon