Sean McGovern, 50, and Melissa Morris, 52, suffered from hypothermia and jellyfish stings after 14 hours stranded at sea.
Sean McGovern, 50, and Melissa Morris, 52, suffered from hypothermia and jellyfish stings after 14 hours stranded at sea.Broward County Sheriff's Office.

An American couple have been rescued by fishermen after being forced to tread water for 13 hours when they fell off their boat.

Sean McGovern, 50, and Melissa Morris, 52, fell into the sea off Key Largo in Florida on Friday, and drifted 10 nautical miles without lifejackets or any means of sending a distress signal.

The couple suffered jellyfish stings and hypothermia as they struggled to stay afloat overnight. They were discovered at 8am the next morning by three men fishing seven miles off Hallandale Beach. McGovern attracted their attention by waving his shirt.

Broward Sheriff's Office firefighter James White told WSVN TV: "We originally thought they were fish. We got up close and once we realised they were in trouble we brought them on board."

Fellow rescuer James Webb added: "They were in pretty bad shape. They were both cramping pretty bad; they were both dehydrated and very tired. They appeared mildly hypothermic."

A third rescuer, Steven Crouch, said Morris's legs were cramped and "like sticks" when she was rescued.

"We had to actually lift her out of the water," he said. "The male, Sean, said he ran into three or four [jellyfish] stings during the course of the evening."

He added: "Personally, I was surprised – I was amazed that they lasted that long in the water. I've just never seen something like that before."

Firefighter Keith Silvas said: "When we heard their story, it was pretty impressive. Very distraught, tired, you could tell they had been in the water a long time."

The US Coast Guard said the couple's 30-ft Island Hopper pleasure boat turned up on Saturday afternoon at a beach near the Ocean Manor Beach Resort in Fort Lauderdale.