A 50- to 60-foot boat carrying 12 people took on water and sank near Treasure Island shortly after 6 p.m., but the Coast Guard and a good Samaritan helped the passengers to safety, according to Coast Guard spokesman Robert Simpson. Several passengers called 911 on the charter fishing boat, the Sun Seeker, about 6 p.m. as it was about a half-mile west of John's Pass. The Coast Guard sent out a call for help to boats in the area, and a nearby boater came to the rescue. A Coast Guard patrol arrived shortly afterward, and helped the remaining passengers before the boat sank about 6:15 p.m. Passengers were taken to the dock at Gator's Cafe & Saloon, where authorities and paramedics met them. No one had reported injuries, Simpson said. "This happens very rarely for a vessel that size," Simpson said. Sea Tow, a company that helps boaters, was expected to haul up the boat tonight. The boat sank in a location that made it hazardous to other boaters, but Simpson said enough boats were around to keep others away. The Coast Guard will investigate the cause of the incident.
Red snapper catch may be restricted
Restrictions on the amount of red snapper that can be caught in coastal Florida waters could soon be approved over the objections of charter fishermen who insist the new rules will hurt their business. Federal guidelines that go into effect at the end of February would limit the total snapper catch from the Gulf of Mexico to 5-million pounds a year. But Florida officials have yet to approve similar standards for their territorial waters. A Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission meeting and vote are scheduled Thursday in Panama City.