A runaway boat was brought to a halt Tuesday morning after two people riding in it were ejected into the water near Brant Rock Beach in Marshfield, officials said.
Nobody was injured, but the boat went on cutting sharp circles at high speed until workers from Sea Tow South Shore managed to wrangle it and hit the killswitch, Marshfield Harbormaster Mike DiMeo said.
“It’s one of the fastest ones I’ve ever seen circling so tight,” DiMeo said.
The two boaters were picked up by fishermen who alerted the harbormaster’s office, which then notified the US Coast Guard, DiMeo said.
Meanwhile, the boat — a 24-foot center console with a 250-horsepower Yamaha motor rented out of a local marina — was less than a mile offshore and slowly closing in as it continued to spin circles, DiMeo said.
“We refer to it as the ‘Circle of Death’,” DiMeo said. “You never know the way it’s going to turn if a wave comes by and changes its course.”
With that in mind, officials closed two nearby beaches — Brant Rock Beach and Green Harbor Beach — out of concern that the boat could quickly change direction and head toward swimming areas, DiMeo said.
DiMeo said the boaters went into the water shortly after 9:50 a.m. and the boat wasn’t stopped until 11:24 a.m. It’s unclear what caused them to be ejected from the vessel. DiMeo said they were in deep water with no rocks nearby.
A crew from Sea Tow brought the boat under control by getting the motor tangled up in tow rope, DiMeo said. The propeller was spinning so fast that it cut through the rope, but enough rope became wrapped around the engine that it created drag, slowing down the vessel enough for the Sea Tow workers to drive up alongside and hit the killswitch.
DiMeo and a Coast Guard spokesman urged all boaters to follow the law and attach themselves to their motor’s killswitch, which cuts off power if the driver is knocked down or off the vessel. The two people on board also weren’t wearing lifejackets, DiMeo said.
“You must be wearing a killswitch, and lifejackets are paramount,” he said. “We all wear them every time we go out. There’s nothing wrong with wearing a lifejacket.”