Steamship vessel suffers hull damage after ‘hard docking’ 

The Nantucket is unavailable for a part of Tuesday. —Eunki Seonwoo

Updated October 3

Several Steamship Authority trips on Monday evening and Tuesday morning were canceled after the ferry Nantucket collided with a concrete pier in Oak Bluffs on Monday, leading to a small fracture in the vessel’s hull.

Steamship officials say that weather conditions led to the “hard docking.” 

“The Nantucket had a hard docking due to wind and tidal conditions in Oak Bluffs when it made its 3:15 pm arrival,” SSA spokesperson Sean Driscoll told The Times Tuesday evening. 

Steamship and Coast Guard officials say no one was injured.

The Steamship received clearance from the Coast Guard for the Nantucket to return to Woods Hole with passengers, but the remainder of the ferry’s trips were canceled for Monday. Driscoll told The Times on Tuesday morning that repairs were made, and service would resume with the 9:30 am departure from Woods Hole.

A subsequent release from the Steamship says that when the Nantucket was coming into Oak Bluffs Terminal on Monday, the vessel’s stern swung out of position and struck the concrete piling. Minor damage was found on the vessel’s protective rub railing after an initial inspection by the Nantucket’s crew. No damage was found to the dock. 

When asked about the incident, Driscoll said on Tuesday that this isn’t the first hard docking. He said the pilings were meant to guide the ferries and protect the dock. “They are designed and meant to be impacted if necessary,” he said.

During the incident, 121 passengers were aboard the Nantucket. The passengers and 44 vehicles were unloaded without incident; with approval from the Coast Guard, another 364 passengers and 45 vehicles were taken to Woods Hole on the return trip. 

A Coast Guard inspection found a three-inch fracture to the metal seam above the waterline on the Nantucket’s interior hull.

The SSA states that the seam did not represent a danger to the passengers or crew.

While the Nantucket’s scheduled trips had to be canceled until Tuesday morning, the release states customers were accommodated through other ferries. 

SSA maintenance staff rewelded the seam, and the Nantucket was given Coast Guard approval to resume sailing on Tuesday.

Updated with additional information from the Steamship Authority.


  1. What happened to the disabled folks waiting to exit the boat. Currently disabled passengers not in an automobile have to disembark by taking the elevator down to the freight deck and exiting through exit that cars take. On good dockings
    There is no place to sit down nor a place to hang on while a ferry is docking. In other words in the best of landings there is no place to sit or stand and hang on. And during a hard landing these fragile humans are at risk because of the lack of a policy to help the disabled. In the past it was normal to let the disabled disembark first before the cars. But not so on Wednesday 9/27/2023 on the Island Home 2:30pm ferry. There was a woman waiting with us who said she had 4th stage lung cancer and couldn’t stand any longer. That plea fell on deaf ears as far as the crew was concerned.

    So what happened to those disabled folks waiting to disembark by the front door when the ferry experienced a hard landing?

    • The disabled are at disadvantage in an accident situation. The crew was concerned about all the passengers.

  2. The needs of the disabled are often forgotten or overlooked. We need to change that perception as it doesn’t follow the caring nature of Vineyarders.

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