COA’s research vessel sits on the rocks at Bar Island after strong winds and rough sees broke it from its mooring.   PHOTO COURTESY OF BILL TOWNSEND

Research boat runs aground on Bar Island 

BAR HARBOR — College of the Atlantic’s research vessel will undergo extensive repairs this off-season after it broke its mooring in the weekend’s nor’easter and ran aground on Bar Island.  

Around 8:30 a.m. Sunday, Dean Collier went to check on his two vessels in the harbor when he saw Osprey, the college’s 46-foot Wesmac, adrift.  

“I haven’t seen it that rough in the harbor in a few years,” said Collier, who operates Frenchman Bay Boating Company.  

The boat was in the town’s mooring field but the 8- to 10-feet seas and screaming wind caused it to drift off, said Toby Stephenson, the college’s captain.  

The boat ended up on the rocks on the southwest corner of the island and flooded.  

“The seas were gushing in,” Stephenson said. 

Water got into the vessel’s engine room, but there were no cracks in the hull. After the boat was bailed out, Collier towed the boat back on the high tide with his barge on Sunday night.  

“She needs to go to the yard and get some work done to her,” Stephenson said. “The jury’s out on what the cost will be to bring her back to normal.”  

Another boat ended up dragging its mooring and two lobster floats also ran aground during the storm. 

As bad as the storm was, Collier said they were rather fortunate. That corner of Bar Island is extremely rocky but Osprey’s keel seems to have gone into a trench and almost balanced in the rocks.  

“It could have been so much worse,” Collier said. “They really lucked out.”  

Ethan Genter

Ethan Genter

Former reporter for the Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander, Ethan covered maritime news and the town of Bar Harbor.