MARCO ISLAND — It was a rocky day of boating for six Golden Gate Estates residents who found their 22-foot Sportcraft taking on water and then capsizing near Marco Island on Sunday.
The boat began sinking after striking a jetty rock pile west of Caxambas Pass around 11:30 a.m., said Michelle Batten, a Collier County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman.
Gerardo Villeda was among the men on board and said it happened quickly.
“We set the anchor and started fishing. The anchor came loose and the waves brought us to the rocks,” Villeda said.
The engine wouldn’t start, he said.
“The waves just kept pushing us into the rocks more,” said Villeda.
There were a lot of boaters in the area and people were quick to lend a hand as the boat began tipping on its side at about 11:30 a.m., said members of the stranded group.
“Everybody came to help me out... city police, other boaters,” said Antonio Friman, who owns the now-damaged boat.
Marco Island Police Department and Sheriff’s Office marine units assisted the boaters.
All occupants were safe and there were no reported injuries.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission investigated and officials said it appears to be a straight-forward accident.
“There was no sign of alcohol. No sign of drugs,” said FWC spokeswoman Gabriella Ferraro. “They just drifted into the rocks... It just turned out to be a bad day for the boat,” she said.
“After striking the rock jetty approximately two to three times, the vessel started to take on water resulting in the vessel capsizing and all six persons on board went into the water,” wrote Marco Island police Capt. Dave Baer in a prepared release Sunday afternoon.
“Ironically, roughly three hours prior to the vessel capsizing, FWC and Marco Island police personnel conducted a vessel safety inspection on this vessel and its safety equipment, requiring the owner to obtain additional safety equipment before undertaking its voyage,” said Baer.
The owner, Friman, sat on the dock with his newly acquired safety whistle dangling around his neck as he awaited to hear the fate of his capsized boat.
Sea Tow workers flipped the boat over to get it upright again and brought it to the docks at Caxambas Park by about 1:30 p.m.
There was no fuel spilled or other environmental impact, Baer reported.
The boat crew members were Friman, Gerardo Villeda, Raul Diaz Morales, Andres R. Gamboa, Domingo Farrat Ruiz and Oscar Arcienega, Baer said.