Sunken Boat In Waquoit Bay

A sunken boat in Waquoit Bay off of Seconsett Island is surrounded by a boom to contain leakage.

A leak has complicated the efforts to salvage a boat that sank in Waquoit Bay November 1.

Mashpee Department of Natural Resources staff have coordinated with the US Coast Guard throughout the week to contain spillage and remove the 38-foot cabin cruiser from where it was partially submerged off Seconsett Island.

The Coast Guard hired a contractor to deploy a boom around the boat on November 19, and another contractor was expected to have towed the boat to Great River boat ramp by November 20.

From there, the vessel will be removed from the water and any fuel and hazardous substances will be removed, Mashpee Harbormaster Jeffrey Smith said.

Director of Natural Resources Richard York described the situation as “really frustrating.” He said the boat was not removed from the water sooner because it lacked insurance.

The salvage of the boat is “100 percent the owner’s responsibility” and the costs associated with the contamination prevention and removal of the boat will fall to the owner, Mr. Smith said.

The harbormaster said he did not have the authority to release the name of the owner. Coast Guard and town staff only became involved with the salvage due to the leak, he said.

When Mr. Smith first inspected the boat several weeks ago, he said he found no sheen from fuel on the water and no indication of a leak.

However, a sheen was discovered earlier this week.

Mashpee Shellfish Constable Ashley Fisher said she saw a sheen near the boat on Saturday.

The harbormaster said that the leak was small and the amount that leaked before the leak was contained does not represent a threat to the environment.

“What we believe is that anything that did leak out of the vessel was such a small quantity that it burned up and dissipated,” Mr. Smith said.

As a precautionary matter, Waquoit Bay has been closed to shellfishing, the shellfish constable said.

Mr. York said he plans to recommend a change to mooring bylaws, which would require boats of a certain size to have insurance in order to obtain a mooring.

Several surrounding towns have bylaws of this type, he said.

Once the state attorney general certifies an October Town Meeting decision, mooring regulations will need only the approval of the board of selectmen, rather than of Town Meeting.

The situation with the sunken boat, “shows the value of that change,” Mr. York said.

The boat will remain in the Great River boat ramp parking lot until a final determination with what to do with it is made, the harbormaster said.

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