Screenshot via OCSO safety video

Okaloosa Sheriff’s Office stresses importance of water safety near Crab Island following drowning

Screenshot via OCSO safety video

Following the drowning at Crab Island on Sunday, the Okaloosa Sheriff’s Office is re-emphasizing how important it is to be aware and knowledgeable when it comes to water safety, especially around Crab Island.

“Crab Island is a swimming-Mecca, but not everyone realizes it can also be dangerous,” said Michele Nicholson, Public Information Officer for the OCSO. “Boats maneuvering through crowds, sudden drop-offs around the giant sandbar and sometimes strong currents are big concerns.”

  • Sunday’s victim was reportedly swept away by strong currents as he and his friends were in the water trying to fix an issue with their rental pontoon boat, according to the report. 

“The current gets so strong that you can’t swim against it, and ultimately we have multiple people every year that perish in this current,” said Lt. Jason Fulghum, Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office. “This is why it’s important to make sure you know where you’re at, and make sure you know it’s shallow where you’re getting off.”

Lt. Fulghum recommends that boaters look at the other vessels around you to get a sense of where you are before jumping in, especially in a strong current.

“If your boat does not have a depth finder, look at the difference in water color from lighter to darker,” he added. “Know your limits, don’t take risks, and always have a life jacket close by.”

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