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What has been done in response to a fatal boating accident at the old quarantine station near Southport?

Jason Gonzales

The Cape Fear Quarantine Station, from a 1912 post card. Photo courtesy of the New Hanover County Public Library.

Q. In 2012, an individual was killed when their powerboat hit the cement platform left from the old quarantine station near Southport. It was dark at the time and the platform had no warning lights. What has subsequently been done to rectify this danger to navigation?

UPDATE: Ed Pierce, who was piloting the boat that hit the platform and whose wife was killed in the accident, is paying to install a solar powered flashing light on the obstacle to warn motorists, according to a StarNews story of July 31, 2014. Read the story here.

PREVIOUS ANSWER: One of the survivors of that crash later commented about the lack of lighting.

“We are all baffled by the fact that there is a giant cement platform in the water with no lights or indicators to protect people from it at night,” Michelle Boley told the StarNews.

Apparently, that’s still the case. Authorities were not aware of any changes to the area.

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission Division of Law Enforcement, who responds to accidents on waterways, was not able to provide an answer to this question.

And it’s hard to say who would have enforcement of any changes.

The Coast Guard can recommend a property owner install lights, but it cannot force them to do so.

The U.S. Coast Guard’s concern is to maintain a marked channel of “safe water” for operators to use. The quarantine station, while marked on nautical charts, is outside the maintained channel.


StarNews: Survivor describes fatal boat crash near Southport

StarNews a year later: Mourning husband honors wife killed in collision with river oddity

What was the history of the old Southport quarantine station?

Can you clarify the roles of each of the agencies that operate in marked boats on the Intracoastal Waterway in New Hanover?

User-contributed question by:
martyn hawkins

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5 Responses to “ What has been done in response to a fatal boating accident at the old quarantine station near Southport?”

  1. On January 15, 2013 at 1:33 pm Frankie wrote:

    So, the answer to: ‘what has been done to rectify this danger to navigation?’ is NOTHING. Who is the property owner?

  2. On January 16, 2013 at 11:49 am Si Cantwell wrote:

    It’s unclear who owns it. As the post in Related Links shows, it was built in 1897 with a combination of federal and state dollars. It burned in 1953, with only the concrete slab left.

  3. On January 17, 2013 at 12:51 pm Jay wrote:

    This feature is outside of the CLEARLY marked channel. There doesn’t need to be any lighting. If a boat operator doesn’t know the area then they shouldn’t be operating at night or at high speed, should not be distracted or drinking. Yes this was a tradgedy but lets have some personal responsibility here.

  4. On January 18, 2013 at 10:57 am RobC wrote:

    The old platform is just one of many known hazards in the Cape Fear River. As I recall ,the boater was giving way to a outbound barge. But when he left the marked channel he was still doing 25 mph. Regardless of his skill or local knowledge that is too fast to be running out of the channel in the dark.

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