Body of Captain Recovered After Small Tug Capsizes on Alabama River

Encore Dredging
File image courtesy Encore Dredging

Published Oct 18, 2023 6:42 PM by The Maritime Executive

The U.S. Coast Guard and local authorities have recovered the body of the operator of a small tugboat that capsized in Alabama over the weekend. 

At about 1640 hours on Saturday, Coast Guard Sector Mobile received a call reporting that a 27-foot workboat had struck an object and capsized on the Alabama River, a small tributary that drains into the Mobile-Tensaw Delta and Mobile Bay. There were two people aboard when the casualty occurred. 

The U.S. Coast Guard did not have a waterborne asset in this inland area, and they dispatched a Jayhawk helicopter aircrew to assist with the search. The Alabama State Troopers and Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, county authorities led the search on the ground. A volunteer waterborne search and rescue unit based in the town of Daphne also joined the response on scene. 

The tug's deckhand escaped the tug and was rescued, but the captain was trapped inside the pilothouse, the Coast Guard said. The volunteer SAR team and the state troopers recovered the body. 

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency is conducting an investigation into the cause of the casualty, according to local media. 

[Correction: Early reports, including this story, incorrectly identified Encore Dredging as the owner of the tugboat. The tug was in fact owned by a contractor, not by Encore.]