Boat Hits Square Handkerchief Shoal in Hancock County, Two Boaters Seriously Injured

BILOXI, Miss. — Mississippi Department of Marine Resources' (MDMR) Marine Patrol, with assistance from the U.S. Coast Guard and Bay St. Louis Fire Department, rescued four stranded boaters from Square Handkerchief Shoal in Hancock County early Saturday morning after the 30‐ foot cuddy cabin boat carrying the four Baton Rouge, La., men ran aground on the reef southeast of Bay St. Louis in the Mississippi Sound, seriously injuring two of the passengers. The men had launched from New Orleans and were headed to Biloxi.

MDMR's Marine Patrol received the call about the boating accident around 2 a.m. Saturday morning from Hancock County dispatch. The boaters had called 911 after the crash but could not report their location because they were carrying no GPS or navigational equipment onboard. The Bay St. Louis Police Department instructed them to shoot a flare to help determine their location. MDMR Marine Patrol officers Tommy Jennings and Scott Saucier responded, along with the U.S. Coast Guard, and arrived at the scene about 2:25 a.m. after another flare was fired to pinpoint the location of the boaters. When the officers arrived they found the boat half on Square Handkerchief Shoal reef and half submerged in the water and the four men were on the reef wearing life jackets.

Two of the men were brought back to shore at the Washington St. boat ramp in Bay St. Louis by MDMR Marine Patrol and the two seriously injured men were transported on the U.S. Coast Guard boat with assistance from a Bay St. Louis Fire department EMT. MDMR Marine Patrol had gone back to shore to pick up the Bay St. Louis fireman and a backboard, to help rescue one of the injured men.

Two of the men sustained minor injuries. The other two men were more seriously injured and transported by AMR to Memorial Hospital at Gulfport for treatment. The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources is dedicated to enhancing, protecting and conserving marine interests of the state by managing all marine life, public trust wetlands, adjacent uplands and waterfront areas to provide for the optimal commercial, recreational, educational and economic uses of these resources consistent with environmental concerns and social changes. Visit the DMR online at

Contact: Lauren Thompson
Phone: (228) 523-4053

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