Nine people were rescued by the Coast Guard in Nantucket Harbor late Saturday night after a 41-foot powerboat struck the east jetty, leaving it high and dry on the rocks. There were no injuries reported.
After getting all the passengers safely to land, crews from Coast Guard Station Brant Point provided them with lodging for the night in the station’s galley because there was no vacancy anywhere on the island.
Coast Guard Station Brant Point launched its 24-foot response boat after getting a call directly from the boat’s owner around 10:45 p.m. Saturday night, according to Master Chief Boatswain’s Mate Andrew Babione. The Coast Guard crew found the powerboat up on the rocks at high tide, and brought all nine adults back to the station where they were assessed by EMTs and found to have no medical concerns.
The boat, a 41-foot center console, and its passengers were headed back to Cape Cod at the time of the crash, Babione said. All nine individuals were screened, and alcohol is not believed to be a factor in the incident, he added.
Coast Guard Station Brant Point Petty Officer Lane Parker piloted the station’s response boat with a four-man crew during the rescue. Parker said that because of the size of the boat and the angle at which it was perched on the rocks, he had to navigate out of the channel and around to the east side of the jetty to execute the rescue of the nine passengers. They did not tie any lines to the, but simply got the two vessels bow to bow before bringing the passengers aboard the Coast Guard response boat.
“We maintained the boat’s position and my crew members did a great job getting everyone safely on board,” Parker said. “They performed flawlessly. It went about as smooth as it could go.”
The passengers, he said, were lucky. It was a dark night with no moon, and the fact that it was high tide may have spared them from a more serious incident.
“I’ve never seen anyone run up on the jetty that hard,” said Parker, whose been stationed at Brant Point for 3-and-a-half years. “They were lucky it was high tide. Given the conditions out there, they did get very lucky. If it was low tide, that situation may have been a lot worse.”
State Troopers and Nantucket Police Department officers who also responded to the incident attempted to find lodging for the nine individuals, but there was no vacancy at the island’s inns and hotels late Saturday night.
With nowhere for them to go until morning, Coast Guard Station Brant Point crews set up an area in the station’s galley with spare mattresses for the nine people to sleep for the night.
“They tried every hotel, but they ended up camping out in our galley at the station,” Parker said.
“We made nine new friends,” Babione added.
The individuals took the first ferry back to Hyannis Sunday morning.
By 12:30 p.m. Sunday, three boats from Tow Boat US had managed to free the vessel from the jetty, and began towing it back to Cape Cod.
“They were going very slow,” said Kent Murphy, who saw the vessel being towed while aboard his Blue Moon charter sailing yacht. “There was a patch on the side. Still taking on water and pumping it out.”