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Tour Boat Accident in Boston Harbor – 174 Passengers Evacuated From Whale Watch Boat

A Boston whale watch boat ran aground on a rocky ledge and began taking on water, forcing evacuation of 174 passengers and crewmen. The accident happened on July 3rd near Deer Island in Boston Harbor. The 87-foot long tour boat MASSACHUSETTS was reportedly traveling at 18 knots when it struck rocks at a place called Devil’s Back Ledge. The tour boat began to take on water and list with its bow down. Numerous vessels in the area assisted the Coast Guard in rescuing the passengers who were taken three miles to a pier in Hull. Remarkably, no serious injuries were noted at the time of the accident although the unexpected collision threw many passengers to the deck. The MASSACHUSETTS is owned by Massachusetts Bay Lines of Boston, which owns and operates harbor cruises and tours.
The accident is under investigation by the Coast Guard. Devil’s ledge/rock is a well known navigational hazard in Boston Harbor and it appears that navigational error will be the focus of the investigation. Even in well known and charted waters, vessel owners and tour operators must be fully ready to respond in case of a disaster.