At 6:45 pm on December 4, 2017, it was fully dark and a dinghy with 2 occupants was transiting towards the dock area in Prickly Bay. The driver passed too close to an unlit concrete marker that marks a shallow shoal area. He was struck and thrown from the dinghy.
His companion yelled for assistance and nearby cruisers arrived quickly, within 1-2 minutes. The rescuers found the man face down in the water, unconscious and bleeding copiously from his head/face but he began breathing again after being righted and brought into the dinghy. The Coast Guard was summoned and arrived after 15-20 minutes and stabilized and transported the man to shore. A private ambulance was called but failed to arrive so after 30 minutes the victim was taken by the Coast Guard to the public hospital in the back of a pickup truck. Tragically, he has since died.
Another fatal dinghy accident occurred several years ago on one of the other 2 concrete markers in this bay. Those 2 concrete markers mark the channel (port and starboard) entrance into Prickly Bay. Those markers have been lit since that accident occurred. The ownership/responsibility for all 3 of these markers is unclear.
Nighttime navigation requires extra vigilance and appropriate cautionary speed. This tragic accident should serve to warn all cruisers, especially those in unfamiliar areas.
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