He found the iPhone X on a recent adventure on Arizona's Salt River.
In the past, Rowley has found sunglasses and jewelry, all objects dropped by tourists who go tubing in the river.
"I had been really wanting to find one of these," he said of his most recent discovery.
Due to the fact that it was submerged in the water, he figured it couldn't possibly work, but he was determined to try.
After three days of keeping the device in silica, he tried turning it on — and it worked.
Rowley was then able to track down the iPhone's owner, Alyssa King, of Pensacola, Fla. She had dropped the phone while tubing on the Salt River.
He packed it up and sent it to King, who was grateful to have her phone back. Stored on the phone were her daughter’s baby photos, which she hadn’t backed up.
King offered Rowley a reward for recovering her phone, but he refused to take anything.