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July 5, 2013

6 rescued from boat after collision with jetty

(Continued)

Possible reasons for the accident were the skipper's lack of knowledge of local waters, and the fact that it was night time and high tide. Some sections of the outermost end of the jetty are submerged at high tide, Hogg noted.

The South Jetty is the massive stone wall that extends about a quarter mile into the sea, off the northernmost tip of Plum Island. A complementary stone jetty, known as the North Jetty, juts out from the Salisbury Beach. The role of these jetties is to hold the mouth of the Merrimack River and its channel in place, but on occasions they have been struck by boaters.

The most notable accident occurred in 2009, when a cabin cruiser with four men aboard hit the North Jetty at a high rate of speed during a foggy night. One of the boaters, Seth Coellner, 36, Kensington, N.H., was killed in the accident. The others were rescued.

Hogg said it's been a busy week for the Harbormaster's office. Earlier in the week, lifeguards at the Newburyport end of Plum Island swam out and rescued a pair of boaters in a small inflatable boat that had capsized. The Harbormasters office also rescued a pair of kayakers who became stuck under a dock.

Hogg said the addition of another patrol boat this year has helped increase his department's presence on the local waters, and given him the ability to better patrol Newburyport's extensive shoreline.

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