Scott Bowles – Drowning Victim – Remembered by His Family

by on November 11, 2014 · 13 comments

in Life Events, Media, Ocean Beach

Scott Bowles with father John.

The recent drowning victim, OBcean Scott Bowles, is being remembered by his family who have just arrived from Arkansas and other areas of the country.

And a picture of the young 37 year old man is being formed for the rest of the community, shocked that the ocean could take a life so simply.

Scott is described as a strong swimmer – whose body was found floating off South Mission Beach by a kayaker on Friday. Bowles had been missing since Halloween from his  rented a room in an apartment off Brighton Avenue. His cell phone, car and personal belongings were all left behind.

His family think that he went for a swim during the afternoon of Friday, Oct. 31st – Halloween. And Bowles failed to show to pick up his daughter Sidney in Santa Ysabel later that day.

Scott Bowles w capHis family told the media that he had a love for swimming and for diving, and for the ocean.  He was also an experienced commercial diver, a Navy veteran who had worked on submarines for years before moving to San Diego.

Scott was getting set to start a new job as a heavy equipment operator for a company in Lakeside.

One of his sisters, Emily Frost told Ch10News:

“He was fearless and would take me out to depths I was afraid of, and he always took care of me.He taught me not to be afraid.”

His mother thanked the media, lifeguards and especially the kayker who found him. She said:

“We were a family thousands of miles away, and he was one person in a big city. But they cared enough to really try to find out what happened to him.”

A memorial service for family and friends is planned for Wednesday at La Jolla Presbyterian Church, plus a memorial service for him sometime around the holidays back in Camden, Arkansas.

Bowles’ father, John Bowle, said:

“You never want to outlive your kids and that’s what we’re dealing with right now. … His daughter was the one that made his spirit burn bright and vice versa. Their universe revolved around each other.” 




{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Aqua-Lung November 12, 2014 at 12:40 am

My condolences to the family and friends of Scott Bowle. One item that bothers me about this death is this young man was “strong swimmer.” I’d like to say, that Ocean Beach and the area around Point Loma are one of the most treacherous open water areas for swimming. I too am a strong swimmer but that channel into the bay creates too much erratic current for a swimmer (even with fins). Respect the ocean. If this young man knew that La Jolla Cove would’ve been a better area for swimming he may still have been alive. I’d like to plug
for any swimmer who wants to ask about area’s in San Diego for distance swimming,
these swimmer know the area – better to ask if you aren’t familiar with the Pacific.
Never swim alone and let a life guard know where you’re going and ask about the
swimming limits. Just saying folks.


A guy November 12, 2014 at 6:58 am

I hope his daughter keeps swimming.


Mari November 12, 2014 at 2:49 pm

Don’t you think it’s a little tacky to plug a marathon forum after the fact? Also, Mr. Bowles lived in Ocean Beach so I’m sure he wanted to swim and snorkel within walking or biking distance to his home. Maybe you missed the part about how he had a love for swimming and diving and was experienced commercial diver and a Navy veteran who had worked on submarines for years before moving to San Diego. I feel your comment is insensitive to his family.


Tory November 15, 2014 at 3:02 pm

Scott will always be remembered as a wonderful man. Its been years, but the loss
knows no time or distance. Deepest condolences and prayers for his family, especially his daughter. Support to his beloved beach community, there is no place like it. Greet the sea in humility, but celebrate the life of this incredible man.


Scott's sister November 19, 2014 at 6:20 pm

So glad these comments are reasonably civil. Silly of me to read them, but thank you, Tori, “a guy,” and Mari for your kind words. thank you, ob for being a happy home for my brother. We loved Scott. I know his daughter will keep swimming.


Frank Gormlie November 19, 2014 at 6:54 pm

Thanks so much for coming on our site and expressing your thoughts about your brother. For as long as he lived in OB, Scott was in a sense our brother too. Our condolences to you and your family for your loss … and our loss.


Thought November 21, 2014 at 12:55 am

To Scott’s sister. I have a theory. If you go to google maps|satellite view Ocean Beach. Let’s estimate that Scott had swum North across the bay inlet to the Crystal Pier (not the southerly OB Pier). He may have made it to Crystal Pier swam back and cramped up. I hypothesize this because it is very easy to cramp up even during a 3.5 mile swim, yet at the point where he was found could’ve been 5.35 miles as he was heading south (the longest distance for Olympian open water swimming is 6.2 miles). So about 7.2 miles had he had made it back to Ocean Beach would’ve required water/electrolyte replacement to make the distance. Take care.


Lisa Elkins Goodman November 21, 2014 at 7:06 pm

My deepest condolences, our heartfelt sympathy goes out to you and yours. My son goes to school with Scott’s daughter and really misses her and asks his teachers about her often. Please let her know she is missed.


Lisa Elkins Goodman November 23, 2014 at 10:24 am

Did Scott’s last text message give any clues as to where he was going, plans,etc.?


Kathryn Ann Bowles February 27, 2015 at 12:12 am

No matter what the circumstances of the death of my son, it is a tremendous loss for our family and we will miss him for the rest of our lives. My goal is try to move forward and live in a way that will honor the good things he did in his life. His life was not without struggles but he loved his country and was loyal in doing what he could to protect it. I am appreciative to the people in Ocean Beach who cared and were concerned. They were there when we could not be. We received comfort from past and current coworkers. Our family is thankful to San Diego law enforcement who took the steps to look for him and for the kayaker who found him. The kayaker’s actions have changed the way we will deal with this tragedy. At least now, there is hope for some peace and closure.


Joe February 16, 2016 at 1:26 pm

Wow, I came across this by accident, but I served with Scott, we were in sub school together and hanged around with each other a lot, but we did not keep in touch after submarine school.

Condolences to everyone.


Kathryn Ann Bowles February 16, 2016 at 9:10 pm

Joe, it was an honor to hear from you. I have much respect and admiration for anyone who goes through sub school and serves thereafter. Thank you for your service to our country. I appreciate knowing that you and my son were friends. I have photos of his time in Groton, CT. Perhaps you are in some of them. Take care.


Jennifer Downey August 20, 2019 at 8:37 am

This is such sad news. I went to Diver’s Institute of Technology with Scott. Several of our other classmates have wondered over the years where he ended up. I randomly looked him up today and am very sorry to hear this news. He was a really good guy. Condolences to his family :(


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