Gut reaction saves the day

Boat saved from sinking in Edgartown Harbor.

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Paul Mellen with Edgartown assistant harbormasters from left, Auguste Pizzano, Louise Lynn, and Jackson Crocker are credited with saving the Weezie from sinking. - Photo courtesy Paul Mellen

Paul Mellen credits his extensive “weight” training at Murdick’s Fudge, the Scoop Shack and other Edgartown eateries to help save a sinking boat in Edgartown Harbor Sunday evening.

From his spot on his own boat, the WaterMellen, he could see another boat, the Weezie, sinking at its mooring. He called the Edgartown harbormaster’s office and three assistant harbormasters — Louise Lynn, Auguste Pizzano, and Jackson Crocker — went to the scene in two boats to see what was going on.

They found an unoccupied boat filled with water and its stern had dipped below the surface. Time was of the essence.

Later, Edgartown harbormaster Charlie Blair said, they learned that the bilge pump hose split on the Weezie and was no longer pumping water out of the boat. A torrential rain storm the day before didn’t help matters, Blair said.

The three assistants were trying everything they could to keep the Weezie from sinking. Mellen went over in his dinghy and offered what he called some “puny pumps,” but they weren’t going to do much.

That’s when he decided to put his weight training to the test. He got on the bow of the boat and with the help of a second ice cream scoop, now and then, forced the stern out of the water. “It’s true. It’s all true. Totally true,” said Mellen, who wrote a Letter to the Editor about the rescue to praise the work of the harbormaster’s office.

Asked how much he weighs, Mellen didn’t flinch. “Well, I’m not a beast. Let’s call it 225,” he said.

The whole ordeal took a little more than three hours. Once the boat was back above the surface, it was bailed out and brought to Prime Marina where it was repaired and is now back on its mooring, Blair said.

“Paul Mellen was the real hero,” Blair said. “If he hadn’t seen that boat, it would be at the bottom of the harbor.”

Mellen, who lives in Duxbury but spends his summers on his boat in Edgartown, had nothing but praise for Blair and his crew.

“The culture of excellence starts from the top,” Mellen said.

Asked if he would make his services available for other boat owners in similar peril, Mellen offered up some more self-deprecating humor. “Of course, if anyone needs some ballast, call 1-800-fat-boy,” he said. “They don’t call me WaterMellen for nothing.”

Blair said he had a brief conversation with the owner of Weezie who was in New York City at the time of the near-sinking.

“We love when we get help from different people,” Blair said. “It’s a feel-good story about the boat that didn’t sink.”