DESTIN — A Niceville man died early Wednesday when the boat he was riding on crashed into a channel marker in Choctawhatchee Bay.
Anthony J. Jarab, 24, died at Fort Walton Beach Medical Center.
He was a passenger in a boat being operated by 34-year-old Jackie C. Mott of Valparaiso, according to the preliminary report from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Two women on the boat — 18-year-old Madison R. William of Niceville and 32-year-old Amber Doolan of Dripping Springs, Texas — were injured in the crash, the FWC said.
The 22-foot Mako center console fishing boat had passed Crab Island at 12:36 a.m. and was heading into Choctawhatchee Bay when Mott started to accelerate.
“The operator yelled at the two occupants seated on the bow to come off the bow,” the FWC report said. “Shortly after that the vessel struck a channel marker.”
The impact threw Jarab, one of those seated on the bow, onto the deck near the center console, the report said. The two women were treated and released from Fort Walton Beach Medical Center.
The boat was towed to Destin Marina. When marina employees arrived Wednesday morning, they found FWC investigators had loaded it onto a trailer in the parking lot.
“The front was pretty smashed,” marina Manager Chris White said.
He said there are two large channel markers, which he described as a “substantial sign” on a big pole, in the middle of the water. One has a large red sign and the other has a green sign.
“The red one is the one they hit,” he said. “The impact of it threw some people around.”
The accident is under investigation.
Wednesday’s crash was the second fatal boating accident this year. A 19-year-old Texas tourist died June 28 in Choctawatchee Bay when the personal watercraft she was operating collided with a 30-foot boat.