A Wirtz-area resident was cited with reckless operation of a motorboat after a deck boat he was operating that had children on board struck a Moneta fisherman's boat Tuesday night on Smith Mountain Lake.
According to Sgt. James Slaughter of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF), the fisherman jumped overboard when seeing the deck boat approaching to avoid being struck. He later climbed back into the center console boat and was transported to a hospital for minor injuries.
He was checked at the hospital and was later released.
"Fortunately, nobody was seriously injured," Slaughter said. "That's always a positive, especially in any boat collision, but you just never can take your guard down, that's for sure."
Slaughter said that the operator of the deck boat, Richard Shawn Scott, 38, was traveling upstream on the Blackwater River section of Smith Mountain Lake around the B35 marker. He was traveling in the same path as the fisherman who was in front of him trolling.
"As the deck boat was approaching, the operator took his attention from looking forward to looking towards the rear of the boat," Slaughter said. "At some given point, the operator turns back around and realizes that he’s closed that gap on the fisherman's vessel who was fishing at the time and trolling. (He) made an evasive action but was unsuccessful in avoiding the boat completely, striking it in the right starboard side of the transom."
The deck boat consisted of three adults, including Scott, and three children. The children were wearing life jackets, but the adults were not.
The fishermen also was not wearing a life jacket, which is not required but recommended by the DGIF.
Neither of the boats sank, and alcohol was not a factor.
"Upon our investigation, we concluded that the operator of deck boat was at fault," Slaughter said.