Flooding and Sinking of Fishing Vessel Rebecca Mary

What Happened

On June 17, 2020, in the early morning, the commercial fishing vessel Rebecca Mary began flooding in the aft portion of the vessel while under way in the Atlantic Ocean about 40 miles south of Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. The vessel capsized and subsequently sank. All four crewmembers abandoned the vessel in their survival suits and were rescued by a US Coast Guard helicopter crew with no injuries reported. The vessel had approximately 3,000 gallons of diesel fuel aboard; after the vessel sank, an oil sheen was visible in the water. The Rebecca Mary​'​s estimated value was $375,000.

What We Found

​​​The probable cause of the flooding and sinking of the fishing vessel Rebecca Mary was undetected flooding of the lazarette, likely through a non-watertight raised hatch.​

Lessons Learned

​​Preparing for Abandonment

Early communication with the Coast Guard and preparing to abandon ship by donning survival suits or personal flotation devices when experiencing significant flooding, fire, or other emergencies increases the likelihood of survival. When deploying liferafts and other life-saving appliances, crews should attempt to launch in areas clear of obstructions.​