Vessel ended up on the rocks in River Bluffs area
A 33-foot sport fishing boat that took a wrong turn on the Neuse River Sunday and ended up on a rocky embankment left North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission officials scratching their heads and the driver of the vessel with charges filed against him.
Brandon Lyon, with N.C. Wildlife enforcement, said the incident was baffling. The boat was still on the steep bank of the river Monday morning near Stillwood Court in the River Bluffs subdivision off U.S. 70 between New Bern and Havelock, with only about two foot of the stern in the water.
At about 1:30 p.m. Sunday, the boat, called Favorite Subject, was running at full speed toward New Bern, left the center of the river and turned 90 degrees toward the southern shore, witnesses told Lyon and lead investigating officer Justin Owenby of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.
“We were notified about 10 minutes after it happened,” Lyon said.
There were two occupants in the boat at the time of the incident. No one was injured, Lyon said.
The water level closer to shore was low, likely causing the boat to drag the bottom, but it was still able to climb the embankment, Lyon said.
Carl G. Merchant, 27, of New Bern, was charged with driving a motorboat while impaired and careless and negligent operation of a motorboat, Lyon said.
“There was a lot of damage to the hull where it slammed into the rocks,” he said. “I imagine the propeller and rudder is damaged. There is extensive fiberglass damage to the bottom.”
The boat was heading back to its home port in New Bern from the Intracoastal Waterway, Lyon said.
The Craven County Sheriff’s Office responded to the incident Sunday and the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission was still investigating Monday, he said.