Crews can be seen inspecting the sailing vessel Mary E on Saturday afternoon near the South End Boat Launch in Bath. The schooner, which is owned and operated by the Maine Maritime Museum, capsized on Friday with 15 passengers and three crew members on board, all of whom were pulled to safety. Eric Russell/Staff Writer

BATH — U.S. Coast Guard officials released no additional information Saturday about the capsizing of a sailing vessel on the Kennebec River on Friday that sent 15 passengers and three crew members overboard.

All were pulled from the water safely.

The Mary E, a 115-year-old schooner owned and operated by the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath, overturned late Friday afternoon near Doubling Point, Coast Guard officials said.

The newly renovated schooner Mary E sails the Kennebec River in 2019, slightly downriver from where she was launched in 1906. Contributed photo via Maine Maritimie Museum

The Coast Guard and Bath Fire Department each sent rescue boats, as did Sea Tow, a private marine assistance company, and nearby Bath Iron Works. The passengers and crew were treated by emergency responders once they got to shore, and two people were sent to Midcoast Hospital in Brunswick. Their names and conditions were not available Saturday.

It’s not yet known what caused the boat to capsize.

Bath Police and Fire deferred all questions about the incident to the Coast Guard. A Coast Guard spokesperson did not respond to messages left Saturday.


“We commend our partners in the Bath community for their prompt and effective response which saved the lives of 18 people,” Capt. Amy Florentine, commander of the Coast Guard Sector Northern New England, said in a statement Friday, The Associated Press reported. “We will ensure a full and thorough investigation is conducted in order to determine what caused the incident.”

After the passengers and crew were safe, Sea Tow pulled the 73-foot vessel to a shallow area of the river between the museum, which is just south of BIW, and the city’s South End Boat Launch.

A crew could be seen Saturday afternoon inspecting the vessel, which was still partially listing, its double masts sticking out at a 45-degree angle from the water. A small crowd of people gathered at the boat launch Saturday to observe.

“Never a dull moment on this river,” one man remarked.

Katie Spiridakis, communications manager for the Maine Maritime Museum, said the museum was grateful for the “rapid response” of the crew and the agencies that assisted in “quickly bringing those aboard to safety.”

“At this time, we are working to determine what factors may have contributed,” Spiridakis said. “We will provide more information as it becomes available.”

The schooner was scheduled for a river cruise from 4-6:30 p.m. on Friday from the museum. It sailed past BIW on its way upriver before capsizing near the Doubling Point Lighthouse, which is within sight of the shipyard.

The vessel was built in 1906 and operated for many years as a fishing and trade boat out of Rhode Island. Later, the boat was abandoned and sank in Lynn Harbor, Massachusetts, during a hurricane in 1963. Two years later, William Donnell of Bath bought the vessel, restored it, and it became part of the Maine Windjammer Fleet.

The Maine Maritime Museum bought the schooner in 2017 to use for cruises along the Kennebec.

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