Boat accident closes Lake Beach 4

Muskrats can apparently sink boats.

The Lake Monticello Owners' Association announced Friday (June 9) that Beach 4 would be temporarily closed after a small boat sank and leaked an unknown amount of fuel into the water.

The boat’s owner, Teresa Bowyer, said the boat was anchored to the dock at Beach 4 when muskrats chewed through a "rubber bellow" which led to the boat sinking.  Bellows are flexible gaskets that seal the water out where the universal joint, shift cable and exhaust run between boat and drive.

By about 10 a.m. the boat had been pulled halfway out of the water onto Beach 4 and a temporary floating barrier had been placed around the area to contain any spill. 

By about 2 p.m. the boat had been removed from the scene and a Lake Monticello maintenance crew was packing up gear and clearing away yellow caution tape.

Workers said the fuel discharge was very small and had been almost entirely absorbed by pads in the containment boom. Lake officials reopened Beach 4 before 2 p.m.

Note: This story has been updated to reflect that the damaged part was determined to be a rubber bellow.