Winthrop fire officials hope to save boat

The Sentinel, a boat owned by the Winthrop Fire Department, took on water and became partially submerged. The water was pumped out and the boat pulled from under the dock.

Bill Greene/Globe Staff

The Sentinel, a boat owned by the Winthrop Fire Department, took on water and became partially submerged. The water was pumped out and the boat pulled from under the dock.

WINTHROP — In the serene Crystal Cove Marina in Winthrop, boats remain in hibernation — propped up on metal risers, tightly covered in white tarps.

Except one boat.


Bobbing up and down in the windy harbor, a snapped railing lies on top of the muck-covered fire boat, the Sentinel, after it took on water, became partially submerged, then pinned under a dock during Sunday morning’s low tide.

“We don’t know why it got hung up like that with the tides,” said firefighter Al Marley, who said the boat may be a total loss for the Winthrop Fire Department. “It’s strange.”

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The 32-foot boat, equipped with a roof-mounted deluge gun, has a 40-year history including time spent with the US Coast Guard before traversing the Charles River with the state Environmental Police, Marley said. It was donated to the Winthrop Fire Department about five or six years ago and given a fresh coat of red and white paint.

Firefighters and other public officials arrived early Sunday to the town landing/public marina where the boat is normally kept to help free it from under the dock. Steve Winkler of Sea Tow Boston said it appeared that the boat had taken on water on one side and became stuck overnight.

“We pumped it out along with the fire department then pulled it out from under the dock,” Winkler said, adding that the day before, the boat appeared to be fine. “There’s a lot of water damage. It’ll take some time to repair.”


Now the boat awaits its fate in the Crystal Cove Marina — less than a half-mile from its home dock — facing the hazy Boston skyline with its hatches propped open to air out the engine, tinging the air with a faint smell of diesel.

“It doesn’t look good,” Marley said. While they can dry out the engine, he said that salt water can affect the wiring, potentially ruining the vessel. “We’ll have to wait and see.”

Fire Chief Paul Flanagan and an insurance assessor will examine the damage Monday, Marley said.

Still, the department holds out hope that the boat may be salvageable.

“It’s still floating,” Marley said.

Sarah N. Mattero can be reached at sarah.mattero@
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