Coast Guard helps crew of flooding sailboat

BOSTON – Coast Guard boat crews assisted two people today when their 30-foot sailboat began taking on water and flooding four miles northeast of Gloucester Harbor in Gloucester, Mass., at 12:40 p.m.

When the sailing vessel Pooka, which was headed to Boston from Rye, N.H., called for help over VHF radio, Station Gloucester immediately sent a 25-foot response boat and a 47-foot motor lifeboat to assist the sailboat, homported in Hampton, N.H.

“There were about 50 gallons of water on board, and there was water in the cabin,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Gary Fleming, a crewman on the response boat.

Fleming went aboard the Pooka, where the water was rising above the deck plates, and with the help of the owner, John Muxie of Hampton, N.H., used a Coast Guard dewatering pump and buckets to remove most of the water while the Pooka continued to transit into Gloucester Harbor.

Initially they couldn’t get to the on-board dewatering pump because there was too much water in the bilge, but once inside the harbor, they got it started and pumped off more water, Fleming said.

The response boat escorted the Pooka to the Gloucester harbormaster dock, where it safely moored.

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