Two teenagers were injured early Sunday morning when their boat hit a steel channel marker in the Intercoastal Waterway, according to the Florida Marine Patrol.
Charles Fordham, 19, of Largo, was at the helm of his family's 24-foot Pro Line pleasure boat just after 1 a.m. when the accident happened. Fordham said he was slowing down from 30 mph as he approached the no-wake zone.
"Basically, I looked at the no-wake zone pole and when I looked forward again it was too late, and I hit it," Fordham said. He said he was not drinking.
Fordham slammed into the console of the boat, then he and his passenger, 17-year-old Jessica Lamotte of Clearwater, were thrown into the water, he said. Lamotte was treated and released from Sun Coast Hospital in Largo with bruises. Fordham was treated and released from Bayfront Medical Center with a broken collar bone.
Sunday afternoon, Fordham said he was sore but thankful neither he nor his girlfriend was injured more seriously. The boat, which was towed to his house, was totaled in the accident, he said.
"The Marine Patrol and everyone is telling me I should be dead," Fordham said.