Grand Banks motor yacht sinks off Edgartown Harbor


A 40-foot motor yacht sank off Edgartown Saturday afternoon, after striking a hard object, likely a rock. The 2006 Grand Banks sank in an area between navigational buoys 4 and 6, just outside Edgartown Harbor. It is an area marked on nautical charts as Middle Flats, with shallow water and dangerous, rocky ledges. The accident happened just before 4 pm Saturday afternoon, at low tide. One day before the new moon, the tide was unusually low.

The Edgartown harbormaster’s patrol boat responded, along with the Dukes County Sheriff’s Department, two marine towing companies, and several good Samaritans. Harbormaster Charlie Blair said when he arrived, the stern of the power boat was bouncing off the bottom, with only about 3 feet of the bow showing above the water.

Three people were aboard the boat. All were safely evacuated from the vessel. “The people got off with only a small sail bag worth of valuables,” Mr. Blair said.

The boat, named Barefoot, is federally documented, with Dwight Gesswein of Fairfield, Connecticut listed as the owner.

Capt. Dan Carpenter of Tow Boat U.S. said the boat was towed to shallower water where Tow Boat U.S. worked in collaboration with Sea Tow to raise the vessel. “We had four divers with bags and pumps,” Captain Carpenter said. “The operation lasted two days. We ran out of light the first day; we came back and finished the job Sunday.” The vessel was towed to Falmouth for repairs.

Mr. Blair and Capt. Carpenter said there was no evidence of any oil or hazardous liquids in the water. As a precaution, the Edgartown fire department responded with a trailer designed and stocked to contain small oil spills.