When Historic City News reporter Lindsay Norton went for her daily walk on Vilano Beach this morning, she was surprised to find a 64-foot yacht that ran aground after it broke free from its anchor in the St Augustine inlet.
Dense fog and rough seas contributed to the collision, near the Vilano Beach jetties, according to official reports of the incident. The Coast Guard, the St Johns County Sheriff’s Office, a commercial salvage company and environmental clean-up company all responded.
“We determined that the vessel was not leaking any fuel,” Coast Guard responders told reporters. “About 450 gallons of fuel was pumped off the vessel, making it safe to dislodge tomorrow.”
The scene also drew a crowd of beachgoers.
The yacht, named “Rays the Bar”, is on route from Boston to Ft Lauderdale. The captain told emergency medical personnel, who met them on the beach, that she was unfamiliar with the channel.
According to reports of the incident, the captain bottomed out near the inlet. She called for assistance and planned to be towed into the marina. At some point, the anchor apparently broke free; releasing the yacht. High, rough seas and strong currents, which are normally found in the inlet, caused the vessel to drift to shore.
St Johns County Fire Rescue transported the captain along with her daughter to Flagler Hospital in St Augustine for evaluation — they were released soon after. Their names were not released.
Rough marine conditions continued today making it unsafe to attempt to tow the vessel; however, an attempt will begin again on Monday morning at high tide. Voicing concerns for the safety of spectators and beachgoers, a Coast Guard spokesman asked reporters to have their readers stay clear of the vessel until it can be removed.
Photo credits: © 2012 Historic City News staff photographer Lindsay Norton