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Iconic Fishing Boat Sinks off Boot Key

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By Carly Sisson

Miss Budweiser on fire

Photo: Michael Rybovich and Sons

The Miss Budweiser sinks after catching fire.

The well-known and high profile Rybovich Miss Budweiser sank off Boot Key, Florida in the Middle Keys on the morning of June 5. The boat was returning from the 67th annual Ernest Hemingway International Billfish Tournament in Cuba when she caught fire and burned to the sea, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. Capt. Bill Davis and two other men aboard were rescued after jumping into the water when the boat caught flame.

Miss Budweiser

Miss Budweiser was built by Rybovich & Sons Boat Works and launched in 1961. She was purchased by the Busch family in 1962 and was sold to the Twin Eagles Group LLC in 2010, with whom she underwent a major renovation before her re-launch in 2012. The 49-foot fishing boat won many tournaments during her lifetime and entertained various celebrities, such as Frank Sinatra. She was a legendary boat whose loss is felt deeply, especially by the Rybovich family. Pat Rybovich shares an email sent by his cousin, Michael Rybovich:

“We lost Miss Budweiser this morning down in the Keys. She was on her way back from the Hemingway tournament in Cuba. So far the report is that an engine room fire took her very quickly. She burned to the waterline and is now with the boys upstairs. We are broken-hearted and at half-mast.”

Miss Budweiser's Engine Room

Miss Budweiser’s engine room

The fire is thought to have started in the engine room but the exact cause is still unknown. There are plans to salvage her and hopefully uncover the cause.

Click on the image below to see an exclusive video of the fire:

Miss Budweiser's saloon

We last saw Miss Budweiser at the 2017 Palm Beach International Boat Show

Miss Budweiser
Miss Budweiser