Boat wrecks near Savannah River, floats to Calibogue Sound

dburley@islandpacket.comMay 14, 2014 

A woman on a passing speed boat stands to take a picture of a partially submerged vessel, bottom left, adrift in Calibogue Sound on May 14, 2014. The vessel was drifting with the current just north of the entrance to Harbour Town.

JAY KARR — Staff photo Buy Photo

A boat that wrecked near the Savannah River last weekend has drifted north into Calibogue Sound, where it floated overturned Wednesday.

Now the owner, who thought the boat sank, must remove it from the water, S.C. Department of Natural Resources officials said.

And some want the boat removed quickly.

"It's a hazard to navigate," said Leslie Whitener, assistant harbormaster at Harbour Town Yacht Basin. "Absolutely, we want it out."

The 30-foot vessel smashed into a jetty Saturday night near the mouth of the Savannah River.

U.S. Coast Guard rescuers at Tybee Island, Ga., saw flares in the sky and arrived to find two passengers and two dogs in the water near the capsized boat, according to Lt. Shannon Peifer. The four were rescued and were uninjured, she said.

An employee from a boat-towing company arrived at the scene and told the boat's owner it would sink, according to S.C. DNR 1st Sgt. Robbie Smith.

Authorities declined Wednesday to give the owner's name. The boat is registered in Florida.

The owner "thought it sunk near the south jetty," Smith said. "Everyone had on life jackets, and they told him it was going down."

Instead, the boat drifted along the coast to the mouth of Calibogue Sound at the south end of Hilton Head Island.

Harbour Town employees first saw it earlier in the week and some people reported debris washing ashore on Daufuskie Island.

The Coast Guard has issued warnings to boaters every few hours to watch out for the vessel, according to Peifer.

On Wednesday, an unknown person anchored the boat and put a red, blinking light on its hull, Smith said.

Smith, who first heard about the boat Wednesday, called the owner.

"He was surprised to hear it's still floating," Smith said, adding there was no hazardous material onboard.

Smith "strongly encouraged him to secure the vessel immediately."

"We'll be checking with him on a daily basis to make sure he does," Smith said.

Follow reporter Dan Burley at twitter.com/IPBG_Dan.

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