Five miles off the coast of Massachusetts, a passenger ferry was hit by a rouge 20-foot wave, breaking windows and disabling the vessel. The wave damaged the ferry’s generator and one of the ferry’s crew members was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital with minor injuries, according to Boston Herald on Aug. 14.
The commuter ferry travels from Provincetown, at the tip of Cape Cod, to Boston. The boat was stuck about five miles off the coast of Scituate, reports WHDH Boston today. The wave seemingly came out of nowhere and just left the boat sitting dead in the water with 42 passengers on board on Wednesday afternoon, reports the Boston Globe.Passengers described the ordeal as “the boat sort of tips down in the water, almost as if it was going to flip over,” said Ariel Shurm, 22, of Boston. He was returning back to Boston after a family vacation on the Cape. The seas weren't unusually rough, but all of a sudden a "green sheet of water" came barreling toward the ship. It hit the ship, doing most of the damage to the captain's level, which sits 20-feet above the water line.
The crew passed out life-jackets and panic set in with one woman screaming "the boat is sinking," according to Mail Online today. Water was rolling down the walls in the cabin area of the vessel and people were scared. This is not an area accustomed to waves big enough to tip over a boat of this size and people who frequent the ferry know this, making this wave event a bit out of the norm and frightening for them.
There was initial panic on board when the wave hit, but because they were stuck out in the water with little to do, Shurm, who is a Berklee College of Music student, whipped out his trumpet and gave an impromptu concert for the stranded passengers. Shurm plays the trumpet for the popular local Boston rock band The Interlopers, tried to calm the passengers with his music and it seemed to do the trick!
At one point he played the theme to “Jaws” just as a joke. He also said he played a lot of “ocean-themed stuff.”
Coast Guard officials confirmed that the passenger ferry was hit by a large wave rendering the vessel “briefly disabled.” The incident happened a little after 4 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon. The ferry is owned and operated by the Bay State Cruise Company.
The Coast Guard dispatched a 47-foot motor life boat along with an 87-foot cutter out to the stranded ferry to assist in restoring the generator, which was knocked out when the wave hit, according to the Boston Globe. Once fixed, the boat continued on to its original destination to its dock in the Seaport District in Boston. It arrived around 7 p.m., a few hours later than usual.
One person was transported to Massachusetts General Hospital with injuries, but no further information on what those injuries were was made available.It appears that it was the reporting media that's calling it as an encounter with freaque wave, Coast Guard officials only confirmed that it was "hit by a large wave". Anyway there were minor damage and injury, some panic, just a minor mishap that caused some inconvenience. May be that's why the news did not spread.
This Thursday Boston Globe news article gave more details on the waves;
A series of large waves shattered windows and disabled power on the Provincetown IV ferry on Wednesday afternoon, leaving more than 40 people stranded five miles off the coast of Scituate.
CBS Boston reported that the ferry, operated by the Bay State Cruise Company, was traveling from Provincetown to Boston with 42 people on board when it was hit by what the company described as “an anomalously large set of waves.” Two windows were shattered and the ship’s captain suffered a minor injury to his hand, according to the report.
While most waves were reported to be roughly five feet tall, some passengers on board the ferry told WHDH that the waves that disabled the ship were nearly 20 feet tall.
A report from The Boston Globe added that the crew contacted the Coast Guard shortly after 4 p.m. and two ships, a 47-foot life boat and an 87-foot cutter, responded to the scene nearly five miles off the coast of Scituate. According to the report, the ferry’s generator was eventually restored and it was able to slowly return to port without being towed. It finally returned to dock at approximately 7 p.m., according to The Globe.
We should all be thankful that this freaque wave encounter case had only minor damage and injury. At any rate, however, it was a real encounter case with an unexpected large wave or waves -- which the ferry company described them as "anomalously large set of waves". As the size estimates of the waves varied between 5 and 20 feet indicates the difficulty of getting a realistic estimate from eye witnesses.