In the stillness of early Friday morning, the crew at station Menemsha received an emergency call. MK3 Juan Gandara, BM2 Ryan Rossi, BM3 Joseph Queen, BM3 Riley Dreaney, MK3 Adam Struyk, Seaman Gabriel Villano and MK3 Joshua Hughes were informed at 4:30 a.m. that a boat was taking on water 15 miles southwest of Noman’s Land. Station Menemsha, as well as Coast Guard cutter Spencer, were called upon to launch their small boats which would arrive quicker. Both boats arrived at the same time — the 47-foot lifeboat from Menemsha and the smaller vessel from the Spencer.

Once on the scene, the Menemsha crew made sure the fishing boat Sasha Lee was safe, dewatered it and then did damage control. The crew checked every compartment and found flooding due to shaft packing which had come loose. The Sasha Lee was taking on about 10 gallons per minute. The Menemsha crew chained the shaft in place, going all the way to the water line. The greatest concern was where the shaft was located; it was in the hold where the fishing boat had a catch of approximately 9,000 pounds of flounder. Every effort was made to save the catch, and that mission was accomplished.

The crew then set up a P6 pump to dewater the space — a mini engine that extracts the water and spits it out the other end. Once that was accomplished, they were assured the boat was safe and there were no other safety concerns. After being at the scene for a few hours, the Sasha Lee was met by fishing vessel Triunfo out of New Bedford. Once the Triunfo arrived, the Menemsha crew was informed that they would then stern tow the Sasha Lee with the crew still on board, making sure the shaft was still secure while towing.

Halfway through the tow, the Menemsha crew was relieved by a law enforcement team from station Menemsha that included senior chief Robert Riemer, BMC Trey Huneycutt, BM1 Irving Purington, BM2 Adam Smith, MK3 Shaquille Reed and SA Savannah Hooe. Once the law enforcement crew arrived, the first unit was relieved of its duties and returned to port.

The Sasha Lee had a crew of four aboard. There were four souls saved. Weather conditions included winds out of the east at about 10 knots, two-foot seas and conditions that were dark and cold. These were heroic efforts by each of the two units at station Menemsha.

June Manning writes the Aquinnah column for the Gazette.