Local boaters face dangerous shoals after Isaac
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. - Isaac stirring up trouble for boaters along Fort Myers Beach. The storm churning up sandbars, causing the channel to become dangerously shallow. Four in your Corner's Mike Mason continuing our coverage on Isaac. He's out on Fort Myers Beach with more.
We took a ride on this 75-foot charter boat, Fort Myers Princess, to see exactly what Isaac did to the channels along Fort Myers Beach and the captain here says the situation has become much more dangerous. During the storm, Becker docked his boat at a marina in Downtown Fort Myers.
Captain Gene Becker: "Downtown we'll still have some wind to deal with but you won't get the tidal surge like we'll get down at the beach."
Now that Isaac has pulled away from Florida, it's time to return this princess to her coastal kingdom in Fort Byers Beach and we went along for the ride.
Captain Gene Becker: "It's a nice beautiful day the winds finally subsided."
Becker's anxious to find out what effect Isaac had on Matanzas Pass, the channel boaters have to go through along the beach. The pass is already considered dangerous because sandbars, or shoals, have recently shifted around making some sections so shallow it causes boats to bottom out.
Captain Gene Becker: "Matanzas Pass, you know, the last storm we had with Tropical Storm Debby, it filled in a lot we really don't know what to expect."
Another thing Becker didn't expect; strong winds slamming the ‘Princess’ as she chugged along the Caloosahatchee. It's high tide and we're going against the current, turning this short trip into a 3-hour cruise. By the time we reach the beach it's clear Isaac has hammered Matanzas Pass.
Captain Gene Becker: "It's too narrow for two boats to go through there."
The storm shifting shoals, creating a dangerous situation for boaters.
Captain Gene Becker: "It definitely filled in a little bit further."
Becker usually navigates between these markers but now it's too shallow; a problem that could cripple the local fishing and tourism industries.
Captain Gene Becker: "It's a little concerning for everybody cause God forbid if somebody doesn't have the local knowledge that we have and comes through the channel then they will go aground. If you want to live in paradise and own a business here this is what you have to deal with."
Captain Becker hopes the Army Corps of Engineers dredges out the pass soon for the sake of him and other boaters.