Man jumps ship when boat catches fire

Sea Tow was able to make it to the boat before it could collide with others nearby.
Sea Tow was able to make it to the boat before it could collide with others nearby.

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – A boater in Wrightsville Beach jumped shipped Wednesday when his boat caught fire.

Fire crews received a call from a boater in distress on the Intracoastal waterway near the drawbridge. He said the engine exploded and caught fire. Investigators said they are unsure what caused the engine problems.

The boater told officials he tried to put out the flames himself, but decided to jump overboard when the fire got out of control. He was not hurt in the incident.

Sea Tow was able to make it to the boat before it could collide with others nearby.

Safety should be top of mind as more boaters hit the water during the warmer months.

Fire officials in Wrightsville Beach said boaters should make sure to have a working fire extinguishers on board, as well as life preservers and throwable float cushions in case you have to go overboard.

If your boat catches fire, the focus should be on preserving your life, not your boat.

"It's no different than a house fire," said Lt. Mike Chapman. "If you're in a house, you want to get out and stay out. A boat's no different. If you can't deal with it with a small fire extinguisher quickly and easily without putting yourself in peril, you want to evacuate the boat."

The US Coast Guard routinely stops boaters throughout patrols, checking to ensure boaters are properly equipped in case of an emergency.

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