Steamship avoids close call

The Helen H turning away from a Steamship ferry Thursday morning after a near miss.

Updated, March 28

A Steamship Authority vessel, the Island Home, had to throttle down to avoid an 80-foot charter fishing vessel Thursday morning, about midway through a route from Woods Hole to Vineyard Haven.

Witnesses on the ferry saw the Helen H., a boat out of Hyannis, emerge from an early morning fog at about 8:30, then completely change course before crossing paths with the Island Home.

A statement from the authority says that the Helen H. originally had a course that gave plenty of space to the Island Home, but the driver changed direction within a short distance. The captain of the Island Home was forced to slow the ferry.

“The vessel’s course indicated it would have plenty of clearance to pass astern of the Island Home, but at the last minute, it changed course and cut in front of our vessel’s path,” a statement from Steamship spokesperson Sean Driscoll read. “The Island Home captain had to throttle down to allow for the sudden change in course of the other vessel, but it didn’t result in any intervention by the Coast Guard.”

Driscoll later told the Times that the Island Home did not stop, but slowed from 13 knots down to 7 knots. Judging by radar, he said that the two ships never came within several boat lengths.

Operators of the Helen H. could not be reached.


  1. Are we supposed to be impressed that they didn’t crash into something? I just drove home from work, didn’t crash. When should I expect an article praising my competence?

  2. In foggy weather did someone turn right in front of you?
    Did they violate the Rules of the Road?

Comments are closed.