With summer barely underway, the month of June saw two boating mishaps near the mouth of the Apalachicola River, fortunately neither produced serious injuries.
On Monday, June 5 at approximately 4 p.m., a Hells Bay skiff fishing boat, operated by Logan Martina, 29, was traveling up the river, turning east into the North Channel, while an airboat, operated by Randall Cook, 43, was traveling west coming out of the North Channel on the south side when the skiff collided with the rear left side of the airboat.
Both Cook and David Frank, 11, a passenger on the airboat, were ejected into the water. The airboat sank shortly after the incident.
Christian Yergens, 39, a passenger on the skiff was treated at Weems Memorial Hospital for a laceration to his left knee, but was released the same day.
On Tuesday, June 27 at approximately 6 p.m., the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) responded to an incident of a capsized commercial shrimp boat in the Apalachicola River near Scipio Creek Channel, directly in front of the outdoor dining area for Boss Oyster raw bar.
Due to strong winds in the area, the boat overturned sending the pilot, Jeff Padgett, and a second individual on board into the water. A Good Samaritan was able to get the individuals aboard his vessel and taken to shore. There were minor injuries and neither individual was transported.
According to the FWC Boating Accidents Statistical Report for 2016, Florida led the United States in boating mishaps with more than 890,000. Florida also recorded the most boating-related fatalities in the US in 2016, with 67, an increase of 15 from the 52 recorded in 2015. July was the most lethal month with eight boating deaths.
In the last decade, 2010 was the worst year for boating fatalities in Florida with 79 resulting from 668 accidents. In 2016, 617 accidents were reported.
There are currently around 900,000 recreational vessels registered in the state and more than 32,000 commercial vessels.