2007-09-13 / News

Conanicut Marine ferry involved in collision

By Sam Bari

A U.S. Coast Guard press release reported three recreational boaters were injured Sept. 1 in a collision with a charter boat near Newport around 9:40 p.m.

The charter boat was the Katherine, a Jamestown to Newport ferryboat owned by Conanicut Marine that makes scheduled pickups and drop-offs of passengers and transports them across the East Passage of Narragansett Bay.

The USCG report said that a 49-year-old male and a 10-yearold girl suffered head injuries and a 13-year-old boy's leg was injured when their 23-foot center console boat collided with the 42- foot charter vessel, Katherine. No injuries were reported from the fourth passenger aboard the recreational vessel or to the Katherine's nine passengers.

Bill Munger, owner of Conanicut Marine and the ferry, said Katherine's operator told him that the vessel was hit in the bow area by a smaller vessel traveling at a high rate of speed that was too fast for the conditions. Munger also said that the night was clear and the moon was bright, so the Katherine's operator could only assume that the driver of the smaller recreational boat was not paying attention.

According to the report, the Katherine's master called the Coast Guard via VHF FM radio to report their collision with the recreational vessel north of Goat Island about 9:40 p.m. on Sept. 1.

A 25-foot boat crew from Coast Guard Station Castle Hill was in the area and was diverted to the scene. An additional 41-foot boat crew from Station Castle Hill was launched to assist.

A Newport Harbormaster vessel was first on the scene and removed all three passengers aboard the recreational boat. The passengers were transferred to the 41- foot Coast Guard boat and were transported to an ambulance standing by at Perrotti Park in Newport. The injured passengers were then transported to Newport Hospital for medical treatment. A Newport fire rescue vessel was also called to stand by at the scene in case it was needed.

The recreational vessel sustained extensive damage to the bow and was towed by the Newport Harbormaster. The case is presently under investigation.

The USCG press release said, "The Coast Guard urges all boaters to remain alert at sea, especially at night when visibility is low. Mariners should contact the Coast Guard via VHF FM radio channel 16 or cell phone in the event of an emergency at sea," said Lt. Bob Griffin, who assisted with the case.

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