Man drowns while mooring boat near Basin G

By Danny Karel

Local sheriff’s deputies jumped into SCUBA gear to look for a boater who fell in the water near Burton Chace Park

On a recent Saturday night in Marina del Rey, a man’s family witnessed him fall into the water while attempting to moor a boat. He did not know how to swim.

According to a May 3 Facebook post by the Marina del Rey Sheriff’s Station, Harbor Patrol received an emergency call around 8:30 p.m. the night before. The caller reported a “man in the water” in the vicinity of Burton Chance Park, near Basin G — one of eight zones containing slips where boaters can moor their vessels.

A search commenced. Harbor Patrol deployed patrol boats blaring lights and sirens, and sent two SCUBA-clad deputies with rescue diving experience, along with lifeguards from the Los Angeles County Fire Department, to search in the dark for the missing man.

While the swift and coordinated response led authorities to locate the man within an hour, too much time had passed. Lifesaving techniques were attempted, but they were ultimately unsuccessful.

So far, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has not shared any further information about the identity of the victim. However, according to a sergeant with the Marina del Rey Sheriff’s Station, “his family was present” at the time of the drowning.

“This is a very tragic and sad event for the entire community,” said the Marina del Rey Sheriff’s Station in a Facebook post. “But it reminds us of the importance of wearing a lifejacket when on or near the water.”

According to a 2018 Recreational Boating Statistics report by the US Coast Guard, of the 449 drowning deaths recorded in that year, 356 — almost 80% — of victims were not wearing a life jacket.

While no official statistics have been released to account for drowning deaths in 2019 or 2020, that high percentage of seemingly avoidable drownings has remained consistent through previous years.