Crab Island is a popular sandbar to go to and is probably one of the most beautiful places in Destin. During the summer, you see hundreds, or even thousands of boats carrying people to Crab Island to anchor in the shallow water and enjoy the scenery. According to Deputy Daryl Culberson of the County Sheriff’s Marine Division, that’s where a lot of the tourists go. They want to see the beauty of the water but in reality, that beautiful hides many hidden dangers. Culberson told WEAR Channel 3 “They’re not thinking that the really nice area that looks so great, that I just anchored up in ankle deep water is dangerous, and it could kill you if you’re not careful. They’re not listening to that. They only see what they see and unfortunately it gets them in trouble some times.” Most of those who find themselves in trouble are around the edge of the sandbar, where the depth of the water can increase very quickly. There are other things that can surprise people in that area. The tides that cross Crab Island can also overpower swimmers. This is when they panic, start to struggle and end up drowning after tiring out. Another thing Culbertson sees which leads to needing to be rescued – swimmers chasing down cheap rafts.
Since May, two swimmers, a 20-year-old Pace man and a 24-year-old Tuscaloosa man, have drowned. Others have had to be pulled from the water.