The Unicorn fishing boat nearly sank Friday night in Menemsha after a cracked valve caused the docked boat to take on gallons of water.
A crew of volunteers worked into the night in below freezing temperatures to pump out water from the hull and safely secure it.
Gregory Mayhew, captain of the 75-foot vessel, said a cracked valve in the sea suction line on the wash down hose caused the boat to take on “quite a few gallons.”
Mr. Mayhew went to check the boat late Friday afternoon when he realized the boat was taking on water and called for help. About five or six volunteers including family members, Mike Holtham and Wayne Iaocono responded. After several hours, the boat was secured.
Mr. Mayhew said he was lucky he had checked the boat at low tide.
“Had it been halfway up to Dutcher Dock, that would have been one more hastle,” Mr. Mayhew said. “If I had gotten there and saw the motor running [at high tide] I may not have gone aboard.”
“That's why you need to check boats fairly frequently,” he added. “It could have been worse.”
And the temperature was no help.
“It was definitely very chilly,” Mr. Mayhew said. “I had had the heat going on the boat so that it was barely able to work...but last night was the coldest I've seen it in quite a while here.”
Mr. Mayhew said he plans to take a couple of parts off the boat and have them reconditioned in New Bedford.
His son, Todd Mayhew, also captains the boat and was on hand Friday night. Todd said the crack is repairable.
“We have to replace that part and that will keep water from coming in,” he added. “We blocked it up last night. We weren't letting anymore water come aboard.”
Todd said water came half way up the engine but did not cover the engine entirely.
“Hopefully it's an easy fix,” he said.