A 61-year-old man identified as John Robert Hazelton was found dead, floating facedown in the waters of the Santa Barbara Marina just after 5 p.m. on Wednesday. According to a preliminary finding from the coroner’s office, the death is “consistent with accidental drowning,” police Lt. Paul McCaffrey said. There was no trauma to the body or any signs of foul play, and the boat which Hazelton co-owned was neat and orderly.
Hazelton’s body was found floating in the Marina by a passerby, who alerted Harbor Patrol. Two officers found Hazelton’s body floating in the water next to Marina 1, partially submerged beneath the dock. Police believe the body had been in the water for several hours, but are unsure how long. Six hours earlier, Hazelton’s wallet had been found floating in the Harbor by a citizen who then turned it in to the Harbor Patrol.
According to McCaffrey, Hazelton would go back and forth between Santa Barbara, where he worked part-time as a cab driver, and Cozumel, Mexico, where he would teach scuba and snorkeling lessons in the winter. In the summer he would live on a boat - the “Marlee Jean,” a 28-foot Catalina 270 sailboat - in the harbor.
The coroner is conducting an autopsy and toxicological examination to determine a final cause of death.