Shrimp boat still stuck days after washing ashore in Holden Beach


BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Days after washing up along the coast of Holden Beach, shrimp boat Big Earl is still stuck in the sand.

Boat Captain Virgil Coleman said he, along with another person, had just started shrimping Thursday when the winds caused a net to get stuck in the boat’s propeller. The current winds pushed the boat closer to shore and eventually beached the boat on the east end of the island.

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“This is killing me,” Coleman said. “It really is. I’m really beat down pretty bad.”

Throughout the weekend the community has been rallying to help any way possible.

Dozens gathered Saturday to attempt to pull out the stuck boat but had no luck.

The owner of Big Earl rented equipment to try and dig out sand around the boat Monday morning, but unfortunately that did not last long. In order to dig on the beach the town says you must have a permit, especially since it is sea turtle nesting season.

Fortunately, that process only took a few hours and the machinery was back into motion this afternoon.

U.S. Coast Guard set up a barrier around the boat Monday for safety reasons.

“Endangered species hibernate in this area frequently,” Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class, Christopher Parker said. “It’s a concern for other agencies and resources to make sure these nests and nesting grounds are safe.”

After several solid attempts this evening to get the boat off the sand, they were still unsuccessful.

“It can’t take too many more nights up here,” Coleman said. “You know what I mean, it’s gonna start falling apart.”

Coleman said the plan now is to continue digging around the boat throughout the night and try again Tuesday morning at high tide, which is around 8 a.m.

If the mission does not work soon, the Coast Guard will take over.

“If the vessel is unable to be removed by the help that he is getting or by other means then yes. Or is the vessel becomes unstable and the pollution threat becomes higher than yes we will step in,” Parker said.

Coleman said he has been shrimping for more than 40 years and has never experienced anything like this.