Eyesore or attraction? Derelict boat still sits on Walton County beach

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MIRAMAR BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The Phantom of the Aqua, as it's called, washed ashore in Miramar Beach in October and it's still stuck deep in the white sand and some say it's becoming quite an attraction along the beach.

"Well, we were here a few days ago and were just walking along the beach and noticed the ship and we thought, 'Wow, that's really interesting. Is that supposed to be there or is it like a tourist attraction?'" said, Peggy Brodien, a visitor from Nashville.

It's not hard to miss the tall mast on the horizon and although the sails are down and the deck is sinking, that's not stopping this ghost ship from sailing its story across the country as people from near and far stop and take pictures.

"I think it's really cool. I mean, it's very interesting that it actually, that the person who owned it thought it was gonna sink and that was the end of it and it has floated on here," Brodien said.

Continuing to live up to its name, the Phantom of the Aqua is still drawing onlookers, and many of them are saying they hope it stays.

"Phantom, you know, meaning nobody even knows who it belongs to," Brodien added. "So, I think the original owner would be excited about the fact that it's getting so much attention."

"Well, we have a lot of tourists that come by and take pictures. Hundreds a day. Everybody loves it. A lot of stories," Manager of the Royal Palm Grille Beach Bar, Steven Tisa said.

"You know, to me it just looks like something sort of like Cast Away movie, you know," Brodien added. "That, oh, somebody was on this boat and they were cast away and now it's landed and even the way that it's set makes you think of a, you know, somebody was out at sea and they finally go here."

"I'd rather be out there sailing on it, to be honest with you," onlooker Patter Irwin from Massachusetts said.

Nearby businesses like the bar Tisa manages said are feeling the wind from the Phantom's sails.

"We bumped into a man who is a beach ambassador for the county of Walton and he told us about it and we said, 'Great, we'll go see the boat have a beer and continue on to Pensacola,'" Irwin said.

"Yeah, they'll come by, they'll stop by on the top here by the road and they'll take pictures and walk through here and kinda go, 'Wow, there is a bar here,'" added Tisa. "They'll have a beer or so and take pictures and move on."

"I think, you know, anybody that comes would be... get a kick out of it," Brodien said.

Since our story has aired, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission released that Timothy Baker is the current owner of the "Phantom of the Aqua."

Efforts to remove the vessel are still unknown.