Solo Ocean Rower Dies

Atlantic Ocean Crossing

4 minute read
Words Row360
Published 26.02.24

An ocean rower has died while attempting to cross the Atlantic Ocean in a charity challenge.

Photo Michael Holt was aiming to row across the Atlantic Ocean to raise money for two charities.
Credit Facebook: Michael Holt

Michael Holt, 54, who lived in Heswall, Wirral, but was originally from Porthmadog in North Wales, had set off in January to row solo from Gran Canaria to Barbados, 3,100 miles across the Atlantic.

The crossing was expected to take 55 days but 700 miles in the father-of-one fell ill.

On February 20, 2024, an update on Holt’s Facebook page read:

“Unfortunately Michael has become quite unwell, which he believes is a reaction to the antibiotics he took recently … Michael is upset, and doesn’t want to let people down, but also understands that his life is far more valuable than this crossing, and he needs to get to land.”

Credit Facebook: Michael Holt

Seeking medical attention, Holt rerouted for Mindelo on the island of São Vicente about 300 nautical miles south of his position.

After losing communication with Holt, his family instigated a search and rescue operation. On February 24, spotter planes located Holt’s vessel but could not see him on deck.

Holt was later found dead in his cabin by the crew of a fishing vessel. His death was announced by his brother David via a Facebook post.

“We have been working tirelessly to get help to Michael over the past four days but have found it incredibly difficult to do so. Last night the fishing vessel Noruego accepted a tasking from Cape Verde Joint Rescue Coordination Centre and made directly for Michael’s coordinates. Very sadly, upon arrival, Michael was found dead inside his cabin.

“Of course this was not the ultimate conclusion we were looking for, but I am somewhat comforted knowing he died doing something he absolutely wanted to do with a passion and managed to row in excess of 700 miles in the process. An achievement in itself.”

Holt’s death had come as a “huge shock” to his family and friends, the statement added. His brother thanked those who had been following his journey for their “kind words and wishes”.

Holt was raising money for two charities (Mind and Liverpool Charity and Voluntary Services) after he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 1997 and in memory of a friend who took his own life last year.

A spokesperson for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said: “We are supporting the family of a British man who has died in Cape Verde and are in contact with the local authorities.”

Credit Facebook: Michael Holt