First responders from the Gulfport fire and police departments assisted water patrol officers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) at the scene of a local boating-related death on Monday, February 3, said a FWC spokesperson.
FWC officers were near Gulfport in Boca Ciega Bay at about 12:30 p.m. when they “discovered one male in the water near a small vessel,” said Susan Knowles, FWC Public Information Coordinator for the Division of Law Enforcement.
Local observers described the vessel as a dinghy.
“A male subject was pronounced deceased at the scene,” she said. The name of the man or any additional information is not being released at this time.
As part of the ongoing investigation, first responders gathered near the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 7-16, District 7 building located at 3120 Miriam Street S. on Feb. 3, which is next to the Gulfport Municipal Marina.
On Wednesday, February 5, Knowles said, “there was a boating accident in close proximity to where the deceased individual was located. We are working to determine whether or not the individual died as a result of that boating accident.
“We have interviewed all individuals involved in this incident. We will provide more details as they become available.”
Because this is a boating-related accident, “standard protocol is being followed” and the FWC is leading the investigation, said Detective Sergeant Thomas Woodman, the public information officer for the Gulfport Police Department.
The FWC is headquartered in Tallahassee with regional offices and staff located throughout the state. Pinellas County is located in the southwest region. The commission manages and regulates the state’s fish and wildlife resources, enforces related laws and investigates boating accidents.