The water off Cove Point felt calm at first.
Jason Brown’s father, Daniel Brown, and uncle, Doug Brown, hadn’t hesitated to strip off their shirts and leap into the chilly Chesapeake Bay in Southern Maryland on Friday evening, the 17-year-old would say later. Jason eventually waded in, splashing and joking as the trio had so many times before. They chucked seashells at each other and peered at a cruise ship passing Lusby.
Then the waves picked up, and the current strengthened. Suddenly, their toes lost touch with the sand.
“Let’s get back,” Doug said, his tone serious. The 39-year-old tried to paddle toward shore, but he made little progress. He began to drift away. Jason turned back to Daniel.
“Dad, are you okay?”
“No,” he replied.