By Kassie Simmons | April 26, 2021 at 7:05 PM EDT – Updated April 26 at 8:10 PM
WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, N.C. (WECT) – Summers are typically busy when it comes to boat towing and rescues, but since the start of the pandemic, companies like TowBoatUS have seen more boaters stuck in rough waters than usual.
“Every day was the 4th of July during the summer,” said Capt. Tom Morgan with TowBoatUS Wrightsville Beach. “I think what it was was with everything being closed down because of COVID, they flocked to the water. If you had a boat, you went there and if you didn’t have a boat, you bought one.”
New and inexperienced boaters can run into problems if they’re not careful. Small mistakes like going too fast, exploring areas you’re not familiar with and driving with only the moonlight to guide you can add up to be a whale of a problem. Morgan says that’s exactly what happened Sunday night.
“They hit the jetty at Masonboro Inlet,” said Morgan. “It was a 25-foot center console and it ended up on the top of the jetty jammed into the rocks.”
The collision threw a woman overboard and injured the driver. One boater was without shoes, which created another problem.
“[The rocks are] covered in barnacles, oyster shells. It’s like jumping onto a rock full of knives,” Morgan explained. “I was like ‘what size do you wear?’ That was the next thing I said because one of us was going to give up our shoes, which we did.”
Morgan says the boat was likely totaled in the crash. He says similar situations can be avoided with a few tips.
“Situational awareness, make sure you maintain the vessel. Understand the rules of the road. What I mean by that is navigation. Understand what these markers in the water mean, understand what they mean in inlets. If you’re not familiar with the area, understand where to go and where not to be.”
Copyright 2021 WECT. All rights reserved.