The good news about the Portland fireboat fiasco is that the two individuals who were directly responsible for the incident have been disciplined.

The bad news: We still don’t know how such a thing could happen or what, if any, measures are in place or will be introduced to keep it from happening again.

The basics have been reported:

On Oct. 15, the city’s $3.2 million fireboat incurred $38,000 worth of damage when it hit what’s being described as an underwater object on the north side of Fort Gorges while carrying two members of the Fire Department’s marine division and 12 civilian passengers.

The boat supposedly was on a training exercise, but the presence of non-firefighters, including family members, raises questions about the validity of that claim.

To make matters worse, Fire Department officials didn’t even report the accident until a Portland Press Herald reporter inquired about it.

An investigation by the Fire Department prompted Chief Fred LaMontagne to rule that the accident was preventable.

The chief subsequently suspended firefighter Joseph Murphy, who was piloting the boat at the time of the incident, and Capt. Christopher Goodall, who was also on board.

Murphy was suspended for three days; Goodall for 10 days.

The story gets worse as it goes along.

For starters, this is the second time since it was put into service two years ago that the fireboat, the City of Portland IV, has been damaged.

It ran aground in November 2009 and cost $90,000 to repair.

And now, according to information gathered by Press Herald reporters, we learn that the boat seems to be used on a regular basis for what looks suspiciously like recreational purposes.

“I personally have witnessed wives, girlfriends and children on the fireboat and they go on weekend jaunts,” a waterfront businessman told the newspaper.

And Chief LaMontagne told columnist Bill Nemitz that there are no written policies or established procedures dictating when and how the boat is used.

The reason for its existence, of course, is to respond to emergencies in Casco Bay and on the city’s islands.

Common sense would suggest that a Saturday evening “training exercise” with a dozen non-firefighters aboard might not be what Portland taxpayers consider an appropriate use of their $3.2 million fireboat.

The chief’s decision to suspend the two firefighters is a good thing, as far as it goes.

But where’s the accountability for a fire chief whose management of his department is so lax as to allow such incidents? Why are there no policies in place to regulate the use of this expensive piece of municipal equipment?

Fortunately, no one has been injured in the two fireboat mishaps.

But has it occurred to the chief or anyone at City Hall that the city and its residents could be liable for any injuries — or, heaven forbid, deaths — that might occur from a boat wreck with not only city employees but also civilians on board?

What might seem like a comedy of errors involving this boat is not even remotely funny.

This is serious business, with potentially dire consequences.

Portland residents should not, and surely will not, continue to tolerate such a deplorable lack of oversight and accountability.