Waterworld Destin takes on water: Crab Island business damaged in recent storm

Savannah Vasquez
Wednesday saw WaterWorld Destin partially submerged on Crab Island.

The remnants of Hurricane Patricia brought wind, rain and high seas to Destin this week and one business saw the worst of the storm as it began to sink on Crab Island.

Waterworld Destin which offers food, beverages and water sports to patrons of the famous sand bar began to take on water Monday and by Tuesday photos of the sunken barge were making their rounds on social media.

“I had a lot of concerns and friends calling, my phone is burning up,” said Owner Stan Shipp. “I know everybody thought it was a total loss but I knew it wasn’t. I built it myself and I built it like a fort, it’s all made out of wood and I fiber-glassed everything that’s why it remained intact.”

Shipp, who lives between Destin and Texas, was out of town just prior to the storm and said his intentions to move the barge were hindered by the sea conditions.

“It happened while I was out of town for a week,” Shipp said. “I came back to move it right at the end of the day it sank but it was too dangerous to go out there in a boat so we had to wait.”

When the choppy water started to subsided Thursday, Shipp began work on moving the partially submerged barge off of Crab Island to a sheltered body of water.

“We got it up and everything is in good shape with very minimal damage,” he said. “What happened is I had a two-inch pipe that broke off and it started to sink. My trail volt system battery went down and then my bilge pumps would not operate, but we got the barge floating again pretty much unscathed.”

This past summer was Shipp’s fourth year as a vendor on Crab Island but the first for the Waterworld Destin floating barge.

This was my first season with the barge, I opened up July fourth,” he said. “Right now we are getting everything ready to go for next year. We want everyone to know we will be up and going by spring and ready for a full season.”