Coast Guard helps evacuate 49 passengers from grounded schooner in Casco Bay, Maine

1st Coast Guard District NewsBOSTON — A Coast Guard Station South Portland 47-foot motor lifeboat helped evacuate 49 passengers from a 59-foot schooner that ran aground in Casco Bay, Maine, near Great Diamond Island Saturday at about 6 p.m.

There were no reports of any injuries and the two-masted schooner Wendameen, that takes site-seeing cruises around Casco Bay, is not taking on any water. All passengers were wearing life jackets during the entire evacuation. The Coast Guard mandates all passenger vessels have life jackets on board for every passenger and crew member.

All passengers were taken from the schooner and loaded onto the Coast Guard motor life boat and a Portland Fire Department boat and taken to the State Pier in Portland. The schooner’s crew remained aboard to aid the vessel until it is refloated. The vessel remains stable and there was no indication of any pollution. The Portland and Falmouth harbormasters also assisted in the operation.

Wendameen was also involved in another grounding in June of this year in a different location in Casco Bay but passed a Coast Guard hull survey before being allowed back into service.

Coast Guard marine casualty investigators will work to determine the cause of the grounding.

The vessel ran aground close to low tide and the next high tide is estimated to be at 10:48 p.m.

“This case involved a coordinated multi-agency response to evaluate the vessel’s condition and safely transfer all passengers ashore,” said Coast Guard Lt. Nick Barrow, Command Center Supervisor at Sector Northern New England. “We are grateful all passengers and crew are safe, as that is always the number one priority. We will continue to monitor the situation and hopefully the vessel will refloat with the tide.”

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