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Boater killed after boat hits rocks near Masonboro Inlet

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MASONBORO INLET, NC (WWAY) -- The Coast Guard says one man is dead after a boat accident at the Masonboro Inlet near Wilmington.

A crew-member aboard the boat contacted the Coast Guard at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday stating that they had hit a rock and one of the three people aboard had been severely injured.

A response boat arrived on the scene and towed the boat back to Wrightsville Beach. A coroner arrived on the scene and pronounced the boater dead. No names have been released so far.

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Always pick up the sea buoy

Always pick up the sea buoy when entering a channel in most conditions. That should be your course, even in broad daylight. Then, line up on the buoys that guide you safely into the harbor. It is a sad situation for that famly especially before the holidays and flotilla weekend.

A tragic but preventable accident

Yes this is sad. A brutal way to see one's life come to an end. The primary factors are likely a lack area familiarity and rule 6 (international/inland rules of the road) concerning safe speed.

If the aids to navigation had been followed properly (run from the sea buoy to the charted channel aids to navigation) we wouldn't be reading about this. I came in Masonboro Inlet on Sunday and the aids were all on charted position.

Lights or markers at the end of jetties are impractical. The force of the waves move the rocks (easily) and typical wash structures away away. I've seen storms move 15 ton jetty rocks on the west coast. It's occasionally done on sea walls inside of semi-protected waters, but you don't typically see these on any jetties that run out into the ocean.

Markers

Some additional blinking or reflective markers should be added to Masonboro Inlet. I've been boating those waters all my life and it can be dangerous to someone at sunrise, sunset and at dark especially. The inlet is one of the best in the state and attracts thousands of boaters to our area. If additional markers were added this could have likely been avoided. The area between the beach and the rocks looks like a cut through at high tide and I've seen many of boats sharply turn at the last second in broad daylight to avoid it.

I pray for the family that has to get this news today.

John
Wilmington, NC

There are plenty of markers in Masonboro Inlet...

...to accurately and safely guide a mariner into and out of the Atlantic Ocean. The biggest problem that Masonboro Inlet encounters is, inexperienced boaters that go far to fast in near dark hours, experienced boaters that go far too fast in near dark hours and all of the other boaters that go FAR TOO FAST in near dark hours!
Anyone with any relavent seatime realizes the extreme hazards that prevail in the dark and prudent judgement says "Slow Down!" There are smaller vessels, submerged objects, unmarked pilings and ROCKS that will hole your vessel and endanger your crew. Slow, safe and cautious navigation will provide substantial correction time and substantially minimize, if not totally avoid vessel damage (plus, it allows one enough time to properly range any available markers).
I'm very sorry to hear of the loss of life and injuries in this accident, but it simply cannot be blamed on the inlet identification marks.