Capsized boat buoys in Bay

A 40-foot fishing boat had nearly reached land early Thursday afternoon following an open-water crabbing expedition when it slammed onto its left side in calm water, throwing pots filled with 90 crabs to the Bay floor, according to boat operator and owner Terry Groat.

The four fishermen scrambled onto the side of the boat “Reward” and were quickly spotted and picked up by the crew of a nearby U.S. Coast Guard ship before their trawler rolled upside-down, according to Groat.

“I was doing some shaking but none of us panicked,” Groat said.

The accident left three fishermen without a job and left 200 baited crab traps in the open ocean, probably filled with around 400 crabs, according to Groat.

A submerged fishing boat filled with diesel fuel remained moored near Fisherman’s Wharf on Thursday evening after officials postponed efforts to salvage the toppled trawler.

If Groat’s boat can be salvaged, he said he will need to rebuild the motor and replace the onboard electronic equipment at a cost of $50,000 or more.

First Mate Jay McCann was drying off with a beer in the sun after the accident, heckled by colleagues for the seafaring blunder.

“Nobody was hurt,” he said, “except for our pride.”

The boat was tied to a sea wall after the accident to prevent it from being dragged back into the Bay on a rising tide, according to Coast Guard spokesman Kevin Neff.

The fuel valves of the trawler were plugged by a scuba diver Thursday to prevent diesel from leaking into the Bay, according to Neff. He said a 25- to 50-foot rainbow-colored sheen that was spotted after the accident quickly “dissipated.”

In an effort to contain any additional potential fuel leaks, the trawler was ringed with buoyant, oil-absorbing material before officials started to try to move it to a pier, where they expect to flip it back over today, according to Neff.

“They’re going to … try to find the best way to salvage it,” Neff said.

The Coast Guard will investigate the cause of the accident, according to Neff.

jupton@sfexaminer.com  

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