Party boat owners shocked at mishap

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The owners of a party boat said Saturday that they were shocked when their vessel hit a shoal near San Francisco’s Alcatraz Island and nearly sank with 22 passengers on board.

The 40-foot Neptune was hosting a bachelor party Friday night when it hit a rocky outcropping that tore a foot-long gash in the side of the boat. All of the passengers were rescued by the Coast Guard, and the boat was towed to Sausalito for repairs.

No one was injured in the incident and there was no pollution damage, according to the Coast Guard.

Melissa McDowell, who owns the boat with her husband, Kevin, said they had no idea how they managed to hit the shoal, which is marked by a buoy and well-known by the captain of the Neptune. McDowell, her husband, and their adult daughter were all on the boat during the incident.

"It was very dark and the buoy isn't lit, so you have to rely on radar and the bell," McDowell said. "But we have an experienced captain. He's been on the water for over 10 years, maybe close to 20 years. And that was routine for us.

"Trust me, this will never happen to us again," she said.

Click here for the full report by the San Francisco Chronicle.