Three people were rescued after a commercial dive boat overturned off the Nahant coast Friday morning, officials said.

Frank Pappalardo, a Nahant firefighter who swam to the rescue of the marooned boaters, described how he swam through 15-foot swells to get life jackets to them.

Large waves off of the southeastern Nahant coast near the Shag Rocks had overpowered the low sides of the boat Friday morning, causing it to flip over.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Ryan Noel said the people on the 32-foot aluminum vessel were commercial divers.

The three, none of whom was wearing a life jacket, were sitting on the hull of the boat, Pappalardo said, when someone on the shore saw the boat about 2 miles offshore and called authorities at 8:50 a.m.


Nahant fire and police officials, State Police, the Coast Guard, and the Nahant harbormaster rode out to rescue the divers. They got as close to the boat as they could before Pappalardo got in the water and swam closer to throw the life jackets to the divers, he said.

The water was warm, Pappalardo said, but the wind was strong at 15 miles per hour, causing waves up to about 15 feet.

However, the rescue was successful and the marooned boaters were taken back to shore with no injuries.

Coast Guard officials tweeted a photo of rescue crews responding to the overturned boat. “No reported injuries, however they were not wearing life jackets,” the tweet said.

A tug boat pulled the boat back to shore in Quincy, Pappalardo said.

The whole rescue took about 25 minutes, he said.

The Nahant Fire Department has an ocean rescue team equipped with jet skis, boats, and personnel trained in rescue swimming, Pappalardo said.

“When something like this happens, we’re ready to go,” he said. “We have a lot of ocean rescues during the summer time.”


Maria Lovato can be reached at maria.lovato@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @maria_lovato99. Emily Sweeney can be reached atesweeney@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.