The SS Naushon collided head-on with the freight boat Auriga in thick fog at 8:55 yesterday morning.

The two Steamship Authority vessels hit one another about one mile east of Nobska lighthouse at Woods Hole. The Coast Guard said that at the time of the collision, seas were calm and the visibility was zero.

Fourteen people were injured, 11 passengers aboard the Naushon and three crew members on the Auriga. All were taken to Falmouth Hospital, but were released later in the day.

The Naushon, bound for Woods Hole from Vineyard Haven, had left at 8:15 a.m. The Auriga was sailing from Woods Hole to Vineyard Haven, having left at about 8:45 a.m.

There were about 350 people aboard the Naushon at the time of the accident, and 16 passengers on the Auriga, according to the authority.

The smaller Auriga was by far the more heavily damaged of the two ships. Although both were reported to have been moving slowly in the fog, the bow of the Naushon caused a crease in the Auriga’s bow between four and six feet deep.

The Auriga, an open freight boat weighing 286 gross tons, was ordered off the line until repaired, according to Coast Guard’s Marine Safety Office in Boston. The Marine Safety Office will investigate the Naushon-Auriga collision because it involves commercial vessels.

The Auriga will be taken to the Bethlehem Steel Co. in Boston for repairs and is due back in seven to nine days, according to Ray Martin, public relations officer for the authority. There are no plans to take the less badly damaged Naushon out of service.

Most of the injuries involved knees, arms, bumps on the head, sprained backs and bruises. Two people were taken to the hospital by Falmouth ambulance. The others were taken by car. A list of those treated and released follows:

Victor Moreis, Leonard A. Comillo and Michael Dawicki, all Auriga crew members; Mildred E. Zapf of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Michelle S. Donnan of Oakland, N.J.; Leo C. Driscoll of Franklin Lake, N.J.; Nancy M. Nichttin of Cohasset Mass.; David Nichttin, also of Cohasset; Victor J. Morris of North Dartmouth, Mass.; Versie A. Geary of Meriden, Conn.; Robert W. Ocycz of Meriden, Conn.; William S. Daly Jr. of Milton; Paul S. Pino of Boston; and Dennis V. Denars of Cumberland, R.I.

The Naushon returned to service between Woods Hole and the Vineyard yesterday afternoon, having missed one morning trip.

Damage to the Naushon was confined to her bow. Mr. Martin said that a dent about three feet in diameter and six feet above the waterline was created by the Auriga’s bow. The dent lay slightly to starboard of the Naushon’s nose.

Drivers of three automobiles reported minor fender damage after the collision, Mr. Martin said.

Mr. Martin said the authority had not talked with the captains of either ship, and had no official version about how the crash occurred. Robert Muchet was master of the Naushon at the time of the accident; Dale Waine was master of the Auriga.

The Naushon is the largest and heaviest ship in the authority’s fleet. The ship’s weight is 2,652 gross tons, almost 10 times that of the Auriga. She is four decks higher than the open freight boat, and at 230 feet, almost twice as long.

Both ships have radar, and Mr. Martin said yesterday that he assumed both sets were working in the fog.

Three passengers aboard the Naushon - one on deck and two others one deck bellow in the lunch counter area - told their versions of how the collision happened.

John Kerr of Mink Meadows and Belmont was standing on the top deck of the Naushon near the bridge on the starboard side.

“We were moving toward Woods Hole in heavy fog, blowing [our whistle] as we were going,” Mr. Kerr told the Gazette yesterday morning. “We heard a vessel blowing off the starboard bow. I think I heard it twice, maybe three times.

“There was a bow man forward on the Naushon on the deck below me, and he pointed to the vessel. Five or six seconds later I saw the Auriga come out of the fog moving from our right to left. She looked as if she was headed across our bow.

“As soon as I saw the Auriga, my reaction was that we were going to hit. It looked to me as if we were going to string the Auriga amidships. As soon as I saw that I ran backwards, away from the bow of the Naushon.”

Carol Riley and her brother James B. Riley were reading below, near the lunch counter. Miss Riley felt the Naushon’s steam turbines go full reverse and the Naushon turn a little to port.

Mr. Riley heard several blasts come from the Naushon’s horn. The number of blasts were put at three or four.

“Someone shouted, ‘We’re going to hit!’ ” Mr. Kerr recalled. “As we struck there was a jolt, and several people got down low on the deck to protect themselves. I didn’t see anyone fall.”

“There was one solid hit,” said Miss Riley. “Some people fell to the ground. A couple of people ran onto the deck, shouting, ‘Let’s get out of here!’ ”

“Immediately after the impact, the Auriga swept by our starboard side,” said Mr. Kerr on the top deck. “Her bow was forward; she just slip by. We stopped, and there was some confusion, but nothing serious, on deck.”

Confusion was greater one deck down, according to the Rileys.

“Some people put on life jackets, and there was moderate panic,” Mr. Riley said. He joined his sister in running to the stern of the Naushon, then up to the highest deck.

“Some children were crying, and there was some other panic. It was never clear what was going on,” Miss Riley said.

“There was no announcements from the crew or the captain,” said Mr. Riley. They noticed that the Naushon was stopped, and they saw the Auriga off the stern to starboard.

“She was 50 feet away,” reported Miss Riley. “Somebody was lying on the starboard bow. People were gathered around him. The only thing wrong on the Naushon were shattered nerves.”

Crew members roped off the bow, the Rileys said.

“We say for a while. The Auriga was visible for a while off our stern, and then she disappeared. We got underway in five minutes or so, and blowing frequently, went into Woods Hole,” said Mr. Kerr.

Seaman Norman Whitehurst of the Boston Public Affairs office reported that neither ship called for the Coast Guard after the accident. But he said that officials from the Woods Hole Coast Guard station arrived in Woods Hole as soon as both ships returned there.

“It was a very fortunate collisions.” reported Mr. Kerr. “I think the Auriga was very, very fortunate. If the Auriga had been 30 or 40 feet further on, we would have struck her right amidships, and that would have been very grave.”

Lt. Commander Theo Moniz of the Guard’s Marine Safety Office in Boston said three investigators and one inspector arrived in Woods Hole yesterday morning to survey both ships.

The Auriga also suffered a split seam seven inches below the waterline, according to Commander Moniz. The Marine Safety Office will decide weather the case should go to an administrative law judge.

The authority will also investigate the collisions, Mr. Martin said.

The investigators spent all day yesterday interviewing people about the collision. They will continue their study through the week, though no guess was made over the full length of the investigation.

The Steamship Authority rearranged its schedule yesterday to cover for the missing Auriga. The MV Uncatena will not sail between Woods Hole, the Vineyard and Nantucket until the Auriga returns.

The Uncatena will substitute as a third ship between the Vineyard and Woods Hole, according to Mr. Martin. The MV Nantucket will run three round trips a day between Hyannis and Nantucket to replace the Uncatena.

The Naushon and the Islander will continue their normal service, added Mr. Martin. Delays of up to two hours were reported yesterday.

The Naushon-Auriga accident is the first collision between ferries in 49 years, and the first serious Steamship Authority accident in little more than one year.

On Aug. 6, 1932, before the advent of radar, the steamships Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket (later named Nobska) collided in thick fog.

The identical ships hit one another at 6:11 p.m. on Nantucket Sound. The Nantucket suffered a badly damaged bow, and the Martha’s Vineyard was pierced in the side. The two ships sailed back to Martha’s Vineyard and were later repaired. No one was hurt.

In April 1980, the ferry Islander struck a submerged rock off Oak Bluffs harbor. It punched five holes into her hull, all below the waterline. The ferry turned around and limped back to Oak Bluffs. A massive rescue effort, involving fire trucks and people across the Island, managed to keep the Islander pumped out and afloat while emergency patches were applied.