Wednesday, May 11, 2011

$1M boat sinks at inle

New Bern, NC
35 05.91 N 077 01.95 W

We skipped coming it at St. Augustine Inlet.  Based on the story below, I'm glad.  The story also illustrates some of the politics.

$1M boat sinks at inlet
SOURCE: The St. Augustine Record
DATE: 9 May 2011
LINK:  <>

The rapid sinking of a new $1 million, 48-foot sport fishing boat
that ran hard aground in St. Augustine Inlet last week after missing a
temporary buoy adds another blow to the harbor's reputation.

  Last year, two private boats also ran aground in the inlet, causing
expensive damages to both.

  However, St. Augustine's director of general services, Jim Piggott,
said this time there's a solution at hand.

  The Coast Guard has a vessel that installs big buoys. It has recently
been serviced and will be back working by the end of June or early July,
he said. 
  "(This sinking) is not the sort of public relations the city wants,

but the Coast Guard has told us they are coming down Saturday to install
a second temporary buoy," Piggott said Monday. "We're their first
priority when the larger boat is ready. The city is well aware of what
is happening out there and is trying to fix it. When the dredging (of
the inlet) is done, we'll be one of the best harbors on the East Coast."

 The sinking
 The lost boht, named "The Edge," had been home-ported in New Jersey.

  Attempts to raise it and tow it to Camachee Cove Marina failed
because of the high surf. Crew members from the local office of TowBoat
US said they tried several times over the last few days to raise it.

  Jerry Dixon, chairman of St. Augustine Port, Waterway and Beach
Commission, said the channel's edge is marked by a green temporary buoy,
designated as 5A.

  Dixon explained that 5A is much smaller than the inlet's permanent
outside buoy, which over time has been surrounded by shifting sand. It
now sits in very shallow water, far out of place.

  "The boat's owner didn't see the little buoy but did see the bigger
one," Dixon said. "That boat needs eight to 10 feet. He hit the shoal in
two feet of water going rather fast."

  The grounding forced the propeller and the drive shaft up through the
bottom of the boat.

  The couple aboard issued a Mayday and were rescued by passing
boaters. The Edge sank immediately.

  At high tide, the only part of the boat visible above the surface is
the flying bridge.

  To prevent any more sinkings, the Coast Guard plans a second
temporary buoy, called 5B, near 5A.

The dredging hang up

  Right now, $6 million is waiting to be spent dredging the inlet

  The county, St. Augustine, Port, Waterway District and Florida Inland
Navigation District have all agreed to a multi-party effort to pump
channel sand onto sand-hungry St. Augustine Beach.

  That project was due to begin in the fall, after least tern nesting
season ends.

  The final step involved getting a permit from the Florida Department
of Environmental Protection.

  Dixon said, "Everybody's on board."

  But in April, the South Ponte Vedra-Vilano Beach Restoration
Association asked DEP for a 30-day period to file a petition challenging
the permit.

  "We are in the process of retaining an attorney to counsel, instruct
and inform us the proper procedures in filing this petition," their
letter to DEP said.

  Tom Turnage, president of that group, was unavailable for comment

  Previously, the association said dredging in the ebb shoal, a sand
donation area in the ocean outside the inlet, had caused erosion on
their properties.

  The Corps of Engineers spent $1 million on scientific studies
disproving that notion.

  Dixon said this delay could push the channel dredging into 2012.

 The assessment

  Florida Inland Navigation District Commission Carl Blow, who
represents St. Johns County on FIND, took his own boat out Sunday to
shoot photos of the sunken boat.

  "This is the most expensive damage we've seen yet," he said. "When I
was there, a large number of bigger vessels who had visited St.
Augustine headed out of the channel. Everyone was taking photographs."

  Blow is afraid some corporate boat owners will place restrictions on
their vessels coming here.

  "That would be bad, especially because a lot of yachts come here and
spend a lot of money," he said. "It appears to be a fairly new boat with
all state-of-the-art electronics. I can't imagine it not being a total

  However, he said, there's no legal liability attached to the city,
county, Port, FIND or Corps.

  "The captain of the vessel has total responsibility. But the buoy is
hard to see," he said.

  Dixon agreed.

  "The captain made an error in navigation," he said. "But in reality,
that buoy was in the wrong place. With reports like this, insurance
companies are going to say, 'We're not going to insure you if you go in

  Blow said the vessel went down in a hurry.

  "If it stays there, it will break up in pieces," he said. "Eventually
we'll find those pieces -- maybe even its gas tank -- on Anastasia State

1 comment:

  1. Lucky you. If that boat had happened to find the channel while you were in it, no doubt he would have run you down! In addition to recklessly speeding into an apparently unfamiliar channel he was likely watching some gadget rather than the water in front of him.


Type your comments here.