US Coast Guard Station Woods Hole

Five people fishing in Buzzards Bay took an unexpected plunge into still-cold waters on Saturday morning, June 19, when a wave capsized their 21-foot boat.

The US Coast Guard Southeastern New England Sector’s Woods Hole Station received the distress call just after 8 AM on Saturday and immediately dispatched a rescue vessel, said Scott Backholm, the station’s command duty officer.

Four vessels and one good samaritan responded to the Coast Guard’s alert to other members of the Buzzards Bay Marine Task Force, Command Duty Officer Backholm said.

The Mattapoisett Harbor Master’s rescue vessel arrived first and found the capsized boat in a channel near Cleveland Ledge lighthouse—a popular fishing spot.

“We were able to get all five people out of the very rough water,” Assistant Mattapoisett Harbormaster T.J. Beaudoin said. “They were cold, tired and scared, but other than that, they were OK.”

Command Duty Officer Backholm said the initial 9-11 call came from one of the capsized boat passengers who managed to keep his cellphone out of the water as he was pedaling to stay afloat.

The rescue crews were also assisted by a nearby boater whose vessel was too small to bring people aboard but who relayed details back to the Coast Guard, the command duty officer said.

The incident is under investigation by the Massachusetts Environmental Police and the Coast Guard.

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