OB Man's Drowning Death Baffles Family

He was an experienced Navy diver and in great physical shape

A former Navy diver, Scott Bowles lived for two things: his daughter and the ocean, his family said Tuesday.

So it wasn’t unusual for the 37-year-old Ocean Beach resident to go for a fitness swim in the cold ocean waters. But on Halloween, he mysteriously disappeared, baffling investigators for days because he left behind his vehicle and cellphone.

A kayaker found his body past the surf off Mission Beach a week later.

His family said they don’t know exactly what happened to Scott, but that he somehow got into trouble and “met his fate there.” This could have been a dangerous rip tide or cramping or hypothermia from the cold waters.

The medical examiner told the family there were no signs of foul play.

“He simply drowned,” said John Bowles, Scott’s father. “He died doing what he enjoyed, which is somewhat of a comfort to us.”

John Bowles described his son as the model of physical fitness. He was in the Navy for four years, serving as both a sonar technician and a diver on a submarine.

After the military, he was a commercial diver and had recently embarked on a new career when he died.

The ocean and swimming was Scott’s great love, which is why he lived in Ocean Beach, his father said.

That’s what makes his death not only tragic, but “ironic,” John Bowles said.

“I never imagined my son would get in trouble in the water,” he said.

The father now has a message for other swimmers:

“The ocean is a place of recreation for so many people,” he said. “But it’s also a place … where the ocean will take you before you know it.”

His family is planning a memorial service at Presbyterian church in La Jolla for Wednesday. Scott leaves behind a teenage daughter.

On Tuesday -- Veterans Day -- his family was remembering him as a hero.

“He always was very patriotic. And he and I would go and put a flag on his grandfather’s grave when he was in high school,” said Kathy Bowles, his mother. “And then when he had a family of his own, we received pictures because they went out to a national cemetery and put flags out.”

John Bowles echoed his wife’s thoughts:

“On this Veterans Day, we’re very proud of him.”

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