Two boats grounded in marsh on Hilton Head

sbowman@islandpacket.comAugust 14, 2013 

Two shrimp boats ran aground Wednesday morning in a marsh on the north end of Hilton Head Island in waters near the Crazy Crab restaurant. One partially overturned during the incident and took on some water.

James Murray is captain of the overturned Lady Essie, a 1969, 65-foot shrimp trawler based in Port Royal. He said he came into Jarvis Creek at about 7 a.m. to tow another shrimp trawler, the Dianie, from the dock behind the restaurant, Beaufort County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Sgt. Robin McIntosh said.

Murray, who is 69 and from Savannah, said he was unfamiliar with the creek and the shallow areas, and he ran aground as he was trying to leave the creek.

He said the Lady Essie then began to list as the tide ran out and came to rest on its side. As the tide came back in, Murray's boat became partially submerged.

Murray was the only person on board, and he was not injured in the incident, McIntosh said. Responding Marine Patrol deputies from the Sheriff's Office helped Murray off the boat and took him and the belongings he had collected to a nearby dock.

Officers said the Lady Essie was not leaking any fuel, debris or hazardous materials into Jarvis Creek, McIntosh said. They checked several times throughout the day to make sure it had not started leaking.

Officers determined that the Dianie, the boat Murray was trying to tow, was securely moored and did not appear to be in any danger of listing or becoming submerged.

McIntosh said they notified the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Coast Guard of the incident, but they were not involved because there was no threat or collision.

She said Murray is making arrangements to try to salvage the Lady Essie Thursday morning, and will attempt to refloat the boat. He hopes he can return it to Port Royal as soon as possible.

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