The Coast Guard on Sunday called off the search for two fishermen who were on a boat that sank Saturday near Matinicus Island off the coast of Rockland.

A third crew member was rescued by the Coast Guard.

Coast Guard spokesman Ross Ruddell said the search for the missing crew members could resume if new information concerning their whereabouts is received, but their prospects for survival did not look good Sunday.

The National Weather Service reported that a snowstorm generated wind gusts of up to 60 mph and wave heights of 22 feet off Matinicus Island on Sunday.

Ruddell declined to identify the crew members, but WCSH-TV reported that Chris Hutchinson, the captain of the 45-foot fishing vessel No Limits, was rescued. He was taken to Maine Medical Center in Portland, where he was treated and released, the TV station reported.

No Limits’ home port is in Cushing.


Boats and airplanes from the Coast Guard and Maine Marine Patrol searched for 17 hours, covering an area of 130 nautical square miles, the Coast Guard said.

The search began after the 1st District Command Center in Boston received an emergency position-indicating radio beacon distress signal Saturday afternoon from the fishing vessel.

Family members told the Coast Guard that No Limits had a crew of three fishermen on board.

When calls to the fishing boat were not returned, the Coast Guard launched a full-scale rescue effort that included a 47-foot motorized lifeboat from Rockland, a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Cape Cod and Maine Marine Patrol boats. The air crew spotted a flare from a survivor – later identified as Hutchinson – in a life raft and was able to hoist him safely aboard the helicopter.

“Whenever our fellow mariners remain missing, especially after an extensive search, it has a huge impact on all us in the local coastal community,” said Lt. Cmdr. Tim Balunis, the search and rescue coordinator at Sector Northern New England in South Portland.

“We ask the community to keep the missing crew and their families in their thoughts and prayers during this difficult time,” he said.

Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.