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18 Rescued After Historic Schooner Capsizes Near Maine Maritime Museum

mary e
File image courtesy Maine Maritime Museum

Published Aug 1, 2021 3:48 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Friday evening, local first responders rescued 18 people from a historic schooner which capsized near the town of Bath, Maine. 

That evening, Coast Guard Sector Northern New England watchstanders received a report that the historic schooner Mary E had capsized near Doubling Point with 18 people onboard. The Bath Fire Department, security boats from Bath Iron Works, good samaritans and a Sea Tow response boat arrived on scene and rescued all 18 people from the water. Two were sent to a nearby hospital in Brunswick, according the Press Herald. 

The Coast Guard dispatched a Station Boothbay Harbor boat crew to assist. Working together, responders and the schooner's crew managed to stabilize the Mary E before she fully sank. 

"We commend our partners in the Bath community for their prompt and effective response, which saved the lives of 18 people," said Capt. Amy E. Florentine, Coast Guard Sector Northern New England Commander. "We will ensure a full and thorough investigation is conducted in order to determine what caused the incident."

Sea Tow towed the partially submerged vessel to shallow water near the Maine Maritime Museum. The vessel does not represent a hazard to navigation in the area.

The cause of the casualty is not fully known, but in a statement, operator Maine Maritime Musem said that it was a knockdown. Winds were moderate at the time, averaging 10-15 knots with stronger gusts. Coast Guard investigators and marine inspectors will be looking into the circumstances. 

"The schooner Mary E suffered a knockdown off Doubling Point Light on the Kennebec River, just downriver from the museum," the organization said in a statement. "We are so grateful for the incredible efforts of the Mary E crew and the multiple organizations and individuals who assisted in bringing all those aboard safely to shore, including SeaTow, Bath Iron Works, Bath Police/Fire, Bath Harbor Patrol, and the Coast Guard. We continue to work with the Coast Guard, and expect to right the vessel and bring the Mary E home. We will share more information as it becomes available."

The Mary E is a historic Kennebec-built schooner owned by the Maine Maritime Museum. She was laid down and launched at a yard located on the site of today's Bath Iron Works in 1906, and she traded as a fishing vessel and cargo vessel until 1944. She sank in 1963, but she was refloated two years later, restored to a sailing configuration and converted for passenger service. She was bought by the museum in 2017 and given a thorough restoration.