Motorboat capsizes in Oak Bluffs Harbor


Updated May 26

A white, 28-foot-long Blackfin motorboat capsized in Oak Bluffs Harbor on a windy Thursday morning, ultimately leading to one man being sent to the hospital. 

According to Oak Bluffs Fire Chief Nelson Wirtz, the vessel owner found his boat taking on water at its slip, and he attempted to fix the problem. However, the vessel owner fell into the water in the process. A citizen bystander leaped into action, and helped the individual stay on a nearby ladder. 

Both individuals were assisted out of the water by firefighters. The vessel owner was taken to Martha’s Vineyard Hospital for evaluation. Wirtz said the owner was in the water for a while, but there were “no serious injuries.” 

The Oak Bluffs Fire Department and Harbor Department responded to the accident. 

Two TowBoat U.S. Falmouth vessels were on the scene to refloat the damaged boat, keeping it upright with ropes while water and marine plants were removed. The vessel will also have its vents sealed to prevent any fuel from leaking before it’s towed to and removed at the town ramp.

Oak Bluffs shellfish constable and assistant harbormaster Donovan McElligatt, who was on the scene when a Times reporter arrived, said it was unclear at this time why the boat began taking on water. McElligatt also said there seemed to be “no significant environmental impact.” 

“This time we don’t think there was any discharge of any kind of petroleum products into the water, or any sort of pollution,” he said. McElligatt had oil booms and absorbents at the ready in his pickup truck.