A dive boat was seriously damaged when another boat smashed into it while it was moored up on the Kittiwake shipwreck dive site.
Skipper Drew McArthur had tied up Divetech’s 36-foot distinctive pink dive boat Atatude at the site and was about to commence his dive briefing to a group of tourists, when the collision occurred around 1 p.m. Tuesday. He said he looked up to see a boat from Cathy Church’s Photo Centre traveling at speed toward them with no one at the helm.
He shouted and waved at the boat to alert someone on board, but by the time they noticed what was happening, it was too late.
“They plowed straight into the side of us,” said Mr. McArthur.
The bow of the advancing boat shattered a window and left a gash in the side of Divetech’s vessel. Mr. McArthur said his guests were shaken by the incident but no one was injured.
“It was a serious impact and there was significant damage to our boat,” he said.
Mr. McArthur and Divetech owner Jo Mikutowicz were able to drive the vessel round to Harbour House Marina, where it remained in dry dock Wednesday awaiting a full assessment of the damages.
Ms. Mikutowicz said the impact had likely done thousands of dollars worth of damage to the boat.
“They came straight through the hull. There is a massive hole in the side and, worse than that, there are splinters through the side of the hull,” she said.
She added that there were snorkelers in the water at the time of the accident and it was lucky that no one was hurt.
“It is extremely upsetting,” she said.
“As a captain, you don’t leave your boat in full gear and step away from the helm,” she added.
She said Ms. Church, who was on board along with at least one crewmember but apparently no tourists, had accepted responsibility at the scene.
Asked for comment Thursday, Ms. Church, a well-known on-island underwater photographer, acknowledged there had been an accident. She said there was no injuries and both vessels had made it safely to the marina where they were being repaired.
Asked about the claim that no one was at the helm of her boat when the incident occurred, she said, “I have no further comment on that because it is complicated.”
The Joint Marine Unit, which was patrolling along the west coast, responded to the incident and is investigating.