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Crews have difficult time moving yacht that washed ashore

7:28 PM, Dec 16, 2012   |    comments
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VILANO BEACH, Fla. -- The Coast Guard says a yacht that washed ashore on Vilano Beach will stay put until Monday.

The 64-foot vessel ran aground Saturday afternoon and drew dozens of spectators. Joyce Shannon says she saw it drift ashore.

"The whole thing started about 3:30 yesterday afternoon. Immediately we came down and saw the boat drifting out there and by 10:30 at night the police were out there and the fire truck, and it was running aground here and they were trying to stabilize it."

The Coast Guard says a mother-daughter crew was on-board when the vessel hit ground damaging  the propeller.

"The vessel anchored to stay put and wait for help and then unfortunately their anchor chain broke free and the vessel end up washing up on the beach at Vilano Beach in St. Augustine...They were in about chest deep water. Local emergency responders here in St Augustine helped them get safely to shore and then they were taken to the hospital," said Petty Officer First Class Lauren Jorgensen.

According to Jorgensen one woman was treated for chest pains, but Sunday both returned to Vilano Beach. They, along with the yacht owner and residents, watched as a commercial salvage crew tried unsuccessfully to move the boat into deep water and then take it to be repaired.

Coast Guard Pollution Responders were called to the scene and determined there was no environmental impact from the yacht washing ashore.

As for why it happened the Coast Guard said dense fog likely played a role.

"The vessel operator was headed from Isle of Hope, Georgia down to Ft. Lauderdale. She was planning to come in to St. Augustine to stop for the night and she did indicate she's familiar operating in this area. St. Augustine Inlet can be a difficult area for mariners to navigate because there are shoals under water that shift around with the weather so it can be tricky for people to navigate in and out of," said Jorgensen.

The Coast Guard says the owner has contacted another salvage company that plans to arrive Monday morning and try to move the yacht around high tide.

First Coast News

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