Captain hits rocks, beaches lobster boat to keep from sinking

The Sherry Ann ran aground on Long Beach after striking a rock and tearing a five to six inch gash in the hull. — Photo courtesy of Paula Eisenberg

Crews worked through the day Wednesday to refloat the 46-foot offshore lobster boat Sherry Ann, out of New Bedford, that was aground off Long Beach on the southwest corner of Martha’s Vineyard, after her captain beached the vessel to keep her from sinking.

The lobster boat struck a rock, tearing a hole in its hull, early Wednesday morning, Coast Guard Station Menemsha Senior Chief Jason Olsen told The Times.

Crews worked Wednesday to empty the hull of sea water in order to patch the gash. Efforts were also underway at press time to remove fuel.

The tug Co of Tucker-Roy Marine Towing and Salvage Inc. of New Bedford joined the Coast Guard off Long Beach to help on Wednesday afternoon.

Wednesday evening, the tug headed back to New Bedford with plans to return Thursday morning around sunrise, to tow the vessel off the beach.

The three-member crew of the Sherry Ann were checking lobster traps when they hit a rock, Lt. Bryan Swintek, Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England, told The Times. At 3 am, a 25-foot small (RBS) inflatable response craft from Station Menemsha was dispatched to the stricken vessel.

The vessel’s two fuel tanks held 800 gallons of diesel fuel. The initial concern was that any attempt to haul the boat from the beach could cause fuel to spill.

At press time, work proceeded to drain fuel and repair the gash in the hull, in order to tow the boat from the beach.

Lt. Swintek credited the cooperation of local, state, and federal officials. “This could have been a serious situation that could affect the environment and fishermen’s livelihoods, but we have a great group working together on this,” Lt. Swintek said.

The 1989 aluminum lobster boat is owned by Michael Kitchen of New Bedford, Lt. Swintek told The Times Wednesday evening.