MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — Martin County Deputy Michael Libasci has been patrolling the waters near the St. Lucie Inlet the past four years.
“You’ve got to be aware of your surroundings," he says, "Especially on the weekends."
The deputy steers out to channel marker 238 in the Intracoastal Waterway. The marker shows the damage done after a boat collided with it Sunday night. The collision sent five of the eight people on board the 26-foot center console into the water.
28-year-old Paige Barrett and 1-year-old Hudson Matakaetis died.
Barrett’s husband Kyle was operating the boat according to investigators.
Deputy Libasci explains how the channel markers and other navigational signs work for boaters.
“The general rule of thumb is when returning from inlet, red markers will be on your right-hand side… red, right, return. Safe general rule is you want to be between the markers. Channel markers are the only thing that can actually tell you without that intimate local knowledge where the safe water is in this area.”
At night, some of the channel markers will light up red and green. Channel marker 238 has some reflectors on its side, but as a daybeacon, it has no light at the top.
Florida FIsh and Wildlife investigators are looking into the cause of the accident.