Towboat hits disabled pleasure craft in Texas

The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:

(HOUSTON) — The Coast Guard Captain of the Port for the Houston/Galveston area reopened a two-mile stretch of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway Sunday, after a collision between Bolivar Peninsula and Goat Island caused one of the involved boats to sink, presenting a possible hazard to navigation.

At approximately 1 p.m., the captain of the towing vessel Dixie Courage contacted Coast Guard Sector Houston/Galveston, reporting that his tow and barges collided with a disabled and adrift 15-foot pleasure craft. The four people aboard the boat jumped overboard and swam to shore before the collision occurred.

"Only one of the four people had a life jacket on," said Lt. j.g. Melissa McCafferty, a command duty officer for Coast Guard Sector Houston/Galveston. "It could have been way worse. Luckily, all of them could swim, but if that hadn't been the case it could have become a deadly situation."

There were no reports of injuries to either crew or any reports of pollution. The captain of the Dixie Courage reported no damage to the towboat, but the pleasure craft sank from the damage it sustained.

The Captain of the Port issued a closure of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway from mile marker 338 to mile marker 340 to prevent further incidents. This closure was lifted at 7:25 p.m., as a good Samaritan towed the boat to a nearby dock and out of the waterway.

The Dixie Courage is owned by Kirby Inland Marine.

The Coast Guard is conducting an investigation into the cause of the collision.

By Professional Mariner Staff