2 recovering from injuries after boat crashes into seawall

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The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office is investigating a boat crash that left two passengers seriously injured after deputies say the boat crashed into a seawall.

The crash happened just after 6 p.m. Saturday night in the waters near Sailboat Key Boulevard.

Andrew Mentch, 30, and Stephanie Ludwig, 29, were seriously injured in the crash, deputies said.

According to investigators, the small single-engine boat plowed into the seawall after the driver tried to make left turn toward the Intracoastal Waterway. The crash happened in a slow speed minimum wake zone.

Deputies believe speed may have been a factor, but said it's still unclear if alcohol may have been involved.

"You can never be too cautious. This time of year it's very easy to get dehydrated and putting alcohol on with that dehydration causes some lapses in judgment so the best thing is to stay hydrated and watch out for the other guy," commercial boating captain Dave Zalewski said.

Zalewski has been a commercial captain for more than 40 years. In his experience, he says not paying attention is one of the most common causes of boat crashes.

"The day is real nice and you hear the drone of the engine and the slap of the waves on the hull and it's real easy to allow you in a sense of security and it's worthwhile to pay attention to everybody," he said.

Paying attention and staying prepared with the right supplies is key. To best stay safe, Zalewski recommends packing plenty of water, flash lights, flares, a first-aid kit and life jackets.

It's unclear if anyone on board was wearing one.

"Everybody should have them on board. It's not worth getting stopped by the authorities and finding out you're lacking in safety equipment," Zalewski said.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation. Currently, the driver is not facing any charges.