CRESCENT, Ga. -- On Tuesday, Captain Craig Henley, 41, boarded his fishing boat for what he thought would be a normal day - but it wasn't.

"We were heading out past St. Catherine's Sound into the Atlantic Ocean," explains Henley.

Henley, who has been in the fishing industry 20 years, knows the sea can be a friend and a foe.

"They call me paranoid, but I call me prepared," he says.

He was prepared, but he never expected his fishing boat to catch fire. It quickly went up in flames.

"I dumped two fire extinguishers; it did nothing," he tells, "and we tried to get the life raft but it was already on fire."

He and his two crew members quickly put on their life vests, grabbed the lids from their storage containers and hit the water. They used the lids to help them float.

"You are looking at land two miles away, but you know you're not going to get to it," he says.

For hours they treaded three foot seas and fought hypothermia.

"We kept talking to each other," says Henley, "keeping that blood flow going."

Then: a change of fortune. The deckhand apparently remembered he had a cell phone in his pocket.

"I don't know how he kept it dry," he says.

They had already triggered the emergency locator, but Henley said they decided to try making a call and held the deck hand's arm as high as possible.

"I had to hold his hand up in the air to get a signal, he made a phone call," he says.

Shortly thereafter, the U.S. Coast Guard was lifting them from the cold waters.

"It was like orange angels," explains Henley. "I'd like to thank them."

He said they were battered by the waves but they never gave up.

"I said hang on boys they're going to be here," says Henley.

They were taken to Savannah where they were treated and released. Laura Meeks, his girlfriend, was scheduled to be on the boat.

"Something told me don't go," tells Meeks.

Then she received a call from Savannah as to what happened and said she almost fainted.

"I said thank God," says Meeks.

Henley says he is ready to get back on the seas, in spite of his close call on Monday.