A post-dinner cruise on the water ended with a boat in flames for two friends in Cape Coral on Thursday.
Serge Charland was visiting his friend Stefan when the two decided to take Stefan’s new boat out for a spin.
While the two were out on the water, they noticed the smell of plastic.
“There was a ball of fire,” Charland said.
The two are veteran boaters and knew what to do.
“We just didn’t panic,” Charland said. “We could bring it back to the dock, with its own power. We didn’t feel like going swimming in the river.”
There wasn’t much time to think, Charland said.
“I’ve been boating 40 years, so what I was saying to myself is that you have to bring it in. It’s dangerous if you stay in the water,” he said.
It was the first time Charland was on the boat and only the second time for Stefan, who just purchased the boat.
“The best advice I can give to someone if this happens, don’t panic,” Charland said. “Just bring the boat in as soon as possible, don’t care about scratching the boat because when a fire occurs on a boat, you’re pretty sure that it’s going to get burned out.”
The Cape Coral Fire Department was called to put the fire out. The boat was in the area of the 1200 block of NW 43rd Avenue. They reported no one was on board.
The boat is a total loss. On Friday, Cape Coral firefighters put up a boom to keep a small oil leak from spreading.
Charland visited the boat on Friday and said it looked worse than he thought it would.
As for whether this will deter him from boating, absolutely not.