A Win-Win-Win For the Love of the Lowcountry Waters and Its People

A Tale of Husband Who Loved the Water, a Generous Widow, and a Local Water Search and Rescue Mission


July 2024 Issue
By Mary Hope Roseneau
Photography by Cassidy Dunn Photography

Both Lydia Cook and her husband, Lloyd, were physicians in the Cleveland area, a pediatrician and internist, respectively. The couple had two children, Shayna and Brandon. Shayna is Assistant Superintendent of Early Childhood for the state of Maryland, and lives in Washington, D.C. Brandon is a software developer, living in New York City. The two Doctors Cook had the dream of returning to his family roots and property in Seabrook, SC and enjoying all the Lowcountry has to offer. Lydia’s husband particularly loved fishing and boating, and naturally bought a boat to enjoy time in the creeks and rivers.

Lydia was not as enthused as he was about fishing and boating, so she encouraged him to take boating safety classes first. This is the same man, she chuckled, that took her snorkeling years earlier in the Virgin Islands but actually didn’t know how to swim. Lydia got him to take the swimming lessons later and was equally successful with boat safety lessons in the new boat, as well.
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Unfortunately, her husband was only able to enjoy the boat for a short time before passing away far too soon.

Lydia has had to go on with their retirement plans without him, which is not easy, but she is embracing her new home, friends and activities. She recently participated in the Clemson Extension Senior Leadership program, that offers new residents, as well as long-time folks, introductions to a wide range of topics about this area. One of the program speakers was Chief Clay Emminger, long-time volunteer of the Beaufort Water Search and Rescue (BWSAR), a non-profit 501 (c) organization.

He spoke about the mission of the BWSAR group: To give boaters in distress a number to call for assistance in any boating emergency, from being stranded at low tide, to drowning, to searching for lost boats and boaters. Their services are free of charge and available 24/7. This group helps respond to all water related emergencies and non-emergencies. They work directly with the Coast Guard, SC Department of Natural Resources and other related county agencies. The all-volunteer group was founded in 1975 and meets monthly to plan boating safety and educational events, plan their annual golf tournament and numerous fundraising events (they are self-funded), and manage the groups resources, equipment and administration.

Not only does this search and rescue team know the Lowcountry waters like the back of their hands, they are also trained to handle most any situation that arises. All of the volunteers are certified in CPR and other life-saving techniques. This group is dedicated to the safety of the community, and they are an invaluable resource to Beaufort County and its boaters, swimmers, fisherman, kayakers, and all who enjoy the water.

The volunteers at BWSAR know the lay of the land, the predictability of the tides, and the flow of the currents so well, that one time, Clay was crossing over one of the Beaufort bridges in his truck and told his passenger to look down at the boat in the water and said, “They’re getting ready to run aground.” Not 10 seconds later that boat was on land—stuck on a shallow sandbar. These are the guys you want helping you when you have a problem in the water.

As Clay told interesting rescue stories and spoke about the BWSAR’s mission, it dawned on Lydia, “Hey, I’ve got this boat that could be used for good.” She spoke to him after the presentation and inquired about donating her husband’s boat. Clay was thrilled because they are always in need of maintenance on the boats they have and frequently receive multiple calls and need several boats in the water at the same time. She told him she needed to check with the grown children first, of course.

Shayna and Brandon were obviously raised right. They both agreed with their mom, and knew it would be what their father would want. The BWSAR team placed a decal of Dr. Lloyd’s name on both sides of the boat in his memory and honor. Lydia is happy with her decision and grateful knowing her husband is happy that his boat is regularly in the water, being used and cared for by experts, and making a positive difference for the community.

Beaufort Water Search & Rescue
Website: www.bwsar.org
Facebook: facebook/bwsar
Phone: 843-525-1969 or on the water VHF Channel 16
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The group is always looking for volunteers and donations.
Give Clay a call to see how you can help.

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