Dramatic Photos Show Loss of $1 Million Sportfisher at St. Augustine, FL Inlet

A sad day: waves sweeping over the transom gutted the 48-foot boat's interior, irreparably damaging her engines and electronics, leading to a total loss. For a look at a series of seven.For a news report, go to staugustine.com/news/local-news/2011-05-09/1m-boat-sinks-inlet.

Capt. Scott Strebleton of TowBoatUS St. Augustine, who salvaged the vessel, said about six to eight boats a year find themselves on the very same shoal, which has been gradually getting worse and now runs about halfway across the inlet.

In the meantime, Capt. Strebleton says there is a deep channel but boats going in and out of the inlet must stay close to the markers.  He advises visiting boaters, sailors or anglers who are planning to pass through St. Augustine inlet to contact him to get the latest advice on when and how to get through.

With the summer cruising season about to start, contacting a local TowBoatUS or Vessel Assist tower is a good strategy for cruising skippers approaching any unfamiliar inlet.

I would like to expand that offer to any boaters cruising any new waters - if we have a port in the area, please don't hesitate to give our towers a call if you ever need help with local knowledge. They can be reached through the BoatUS toll-free Dispatch Service at 800-391-4869, or by hailing on VHF radio channel 16. A map of our towing ports is located at www.BoatUS.com/servicelocator.