A 38-year-old man from Watertown drowned early Saturday morning after he fell off the bulkhead at Oak Bluffs harbor and into the water, according to police.

John L. Travers, a private investor and a recreational fisherman, had come to the Island with friends to watch the shark fishing tournament.

Police said Mr. Travers was apparently staying on a yacht which was docked at a slip close to the Coop DeVille restaurant on the harbor. The 65-foot boat, Tuff Ship, was owned by Mr. Travers's friend, Daniel O'Connell of Fall River.

"He was last seen at 3:30 a.m. along the bulkhead area," said state police Sgt. Jeff Stone.

But it wasn't until almost noon that his friends noticed him missing. They called harbor master Todd Alexander, who immediately telephoned the dive team from the Oak Bluffs fire department.

Two divers recovered Mr. Travers's body almost directly underneath his friend's boat in about 10 to 12 feet of water, according to fire Capt. Tony Ferreira, who heads up the dive


Mr. Alexander said that some fishermen who were staying on a boat right next to Tuff Ship remembered hearing "a big splash" in the water sometime in the middle of the night.

"No one thought anything of it," Oak Bluffs police chief Joseph Carter said.

"It's unknown if he fell off boat or the bulkhead," said sergeant Stone.

Chief Carter said that Mr. Travers had also sustained a head injury, likely caused by the fall. Police do not suspect any sign of a confrontation or foul play in connection with the death, and have sent blood samples to the medical examiner's office to test for evidence of alcohol or drugs.

It was a very busy weekend in the harbor. Every slip and every mooring was occupied, and there were well over 200 boats in the harbor, according to Mr. Alexander.

This week, Mr. Travers is being mourned by family members and friends. Yesterday, his father, Joseph Travers Jr., of Millis, told the Gazette that his son was "a true outdoorsman who loved to fish, and a great uncle to his nieces and nephews."

Mr. Travers, who had studied hotel and restaurant management at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, went on to become an investor on his own, his father said.

He was also a passionate sports fan, rooting for the Patriots, Red Sox and Bruins. In addition to fishing all over the country, Mr. Travers also was an avid kayaker. Funeral services are expected to be held Thursday in Millis.