Wildlife officers who regularly patrol Longboat Pass off the coast of Southwest Florida, near Sarasota, say it’s one of the most dangerous areas in the region. Strong currents flowing from the Sarasota Bay and the Gulf of Mexico between Longboat Key and Anna Maria Island make it dangerous for disabled boats, kayakers, personal watercraft users and others.
One of those who died there after a personal watercraft accident was a 30-year-old Central Florida man, who drowned after he and some friends lost control of an overturned jet ski and he was swept under a barge. That was in July 2009.
Now, the personal representative of his estate is fighting to hold accountable defendants who owned the tugboat and barge that were moored to a dock. In Soto v. McCulley Marine Services, Inc., plaintiff alleges the 2009 drowning was caused by defendants’ negligence when the captain situated the barge and tugboat in such a way that when decedent fell off the personal watercraft, he was sucked under the vessels and drowned – even though he was wearing his life jacket.