Officials worked to salvage a fishing vessel Thursday morning after it broke mooring and washed ashore on Lobsterville Beach.
The Betty B, a 46-foot wood dragger from Hyannis Port owned by Karl Niehoff, was moored off Menemsha Wednesday night when 40 mile per hour winds caused the line to snap, Aquinnah harbor master Brian (Chip) Vanderhoop said Thursday morning. Mr. Vanderhoop said the boat was “breaking apart” and “the whole starboard side is gone from the wave-bashing.”
The Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) natural resources department safely removed all fuel and loose hydraulic fuel tanks off of the boat. U.S. Coast Guard and Aquinnah police also responded to the scene. The Coast Guard said the grounding posed no environmental danger.
Mr. Vanderhoop said the Betty B was under tow Wednesday, bound for a boat yard on Cape Cod where it would be hauled out of the water for repairs to its motors. The captain had planned to go through Woods Hole “but decided they wouldn’t make the tide at the Cape Cod Canal” and opted to lay over in Menemsha.”
The Betty B and tug boat arrived in Menemsha around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday. The tug boat, the Artemis, left the dragger on a mooring off Aquinnah, believing the seas were too rough to bring the dragger into Menemsha harbor. By 6 a.m. Thursday the Betty B was on Lobsterville Beach. The hawser, the line that connects the boat to the mooring, broke but the mooring did not drag, Mr. Vanderhoop said.
“They were overcautious about bringing it in [to Menemsha harbor] and they didn’t want to tow it through the channel because of the dangerous conditions,” Mr. Vanderhoop said. “They didn’t want to bang up both boats on the jetties, so they decided to put it on a mooring, unbeknownst to me.”
Mr. Vanderhoop said the tug boat, which did enter the harbor Wednesday night, was still there as of Thursday afternoon.
The Coast Guard reported no injuries and both captains were safely off the boat. Marine science technicians were on site to secure the area for environmental purposes. The captain, Mr. Niehoff, had no comment.