40-Footer Burns Off Ocean City - 12/22/2009
Winterizing
Fire aboard a 40’ diesel-powered boat off the coast of Ocean City, Maryland. Reportedly, the fire started in the engine room.

The reason that we run these articles from time to time is NOT to be “sensational like a tabloid newspaper (as one boat builder recently complained) but to remind boat owners that boats – even diesel-powered ones – can have fires. Almost always these fires occur in older to very old boats.

Reprinted from delmarvanow.com---

The 40-foot sport fishing boat My Col was heading north in the Atlantic Ocean when it caught fire about 200 yards off 118th Street about 7:50 a.m. early December, Maryland Natural Resources Police said. The boat was being operated by David Lee Catrino, 41, of Ocean City, and he had one passenger, Ollie Charles Powell, 38, of Berlin, Md.

While two Coast Guard rescue boats and a TowBoatU.S. vessel were en route to the scene, another nearby boat, the Get Some, arrived and took Catrino and Powell aboard. They were then transferred to the TowBoatU.S. boat, said Petty Officer John Miller, spokesman with the Coast Guard in Portsmouth, Va.

Both men were not injured.

TowBoatU.S. then began fighting the fire, Miller said, but by 9:30 a.m. it had burned close to the waterline. The Ocean City fire department set up an engine on the shore and, once the burning sport fishing boat was towed closer, extinguished the blaze, said Petty Officer Chris Carpf, another Coast Guard spokesman.

The cause of the fire is believed to be an engine malfunction, he said, but the incident is still under investigation.

Natural Resources police seized the remains of the boat for their investigation.

"The tow boat got there moments before us, pulled alongside (the burning vessel) and pulled the people off," he said. Neither person was injured.

The fire department set up an engine on the shore, and once the burning sportfisher -- a type of recreational boat -- was towed closer, extinguished the blaze, Carpf said. The cause of the fire is believed to be an engine malfunction, he said, but the incident is still under investigation.

Ocean City firefighters said the boat ended up about 10 yards from the shorebreak, caught on a sandbar. Smoke and steam rose from the sinking boat until the fire was finally doused by crashing waves at 9:45 a.m.

Once the boat sank, the odor of diesel fuel filled the air, leaving officials concerned about the possibility of a fuel spill in the water.

Carpf said the last boat fire the Coast Guard responded to was a small recreational boat in the Assawoman Bay last summer.

"The Coast Guard doesn't fight fires," he said. "What we do is save lives first and then ensure (the fire) isn't a danger to anyone else."


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