Crashing A Boat Into An Inlet Jetty

This boater shares the lessons learned during a close call.

Crashing A Boat Into An Inlet Jetty
These boaters escape tragedy at a treacherous inlet.Tim Bower

It was another beautiful fishing day in early November 2018 at our favorite location in Port O’Connor, Texas. My wife and our two best friends were enjoying the day when we decided to take my Cobia 226 outside the jetty mouth and head to our favorite hangout spot, Sunday Beach, via the Gulf.

The cruise out of the jetty was magnificent. We met the tame Gulf waves with happiness and wonder. When we reached the outer side of Sunday Beach, we noticed that the newly developed inlet, caused by the pounding of Hurricane Harvey, appeared shallower than we expected. Fearlessly, however, we pushed ahead and tried to make it across.

We didn’t make it.

The waves and the surf pushed us into the shallow waters quickly, and before long we found our boat high-center on the sandbar. The waves kept coming, and we had no forward thrust, so the four of us decided to exit the boat and try to push it out beyond the bar. None of us wore our life jackets.

We were able to time the waves and push the boat over the bar. My best friend got back on the boat alone and, right afterward, the boat took a broadside wave, and it tossed him around. He managed to run it out into the Gulf and back to the jetty. He discovered the tame waves gone. It took him nearly an hour to make the journey back to Sunday Beach on the bay side.

In the meantime, the rest of us were standing on the bar, and our problem got worse. The strong current kept moving the sand underneath our feet and pulling us back out to the Gulf. The three of us can swim, but we struggled mightily against the forces of nature. Thankfully, we stayed calm, worked as a team and finally made it to shore. It took us an exhausting 30 minutes to walk 150 yards.

The beer tasted great back on the dock that evening — we were thankful that no one got hurt. I learned to never go out without a life jacket. The shark we saw? I’ll tell you about that some other time.

Ramon Echevarria
Cypress, Texas

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