When there’s no room for error, even a small mechanical failure can make for a very bad day. In this case, one of the four main engines on Boston Harbor Cruises’ Regency remained in forward gear coming into Long Wharf and, with only seconds to figure out what was wrong and take action, time ran out. Regency crashed into Codziilla, then became wedged between a whale-watching boat and the harbor ferry Rookie. In the picture below, you can see the passengers on Regency’s top deck looking over to Codzilla in the foreground, that has been lifted and rolled toward the the wharf, with the ferry Rookie jammed between on the right.
— Evan Kirstel (@evankirstel) August 13, 2016
We’ve ridden the ferry Rookie into Long Wharf in downtown Boston, a busy area with tour boats and ferries constantly coming and going and little room to maneuver. The ferries Claire and Rookie work the runs between the Charlestown Navy Yard and Long Wharf, doing alternate runs during busy times of the day. The video below shows docking and undocking of Claire and Rookie from the location where Rookie was hit, and the tight quarters the boats must operate in at Long Wharf.
The right answer in Regency‘s case, if you can figure out quickly enough that the engine is stuck in gear, is to kill that engine and operate on the remaining three. However, we know from experience that it’s very difficult to figure out what is going on quickly enough and shut down the affected mechanical system. Years ago we had a transmission control cable break when docking our last boat in tight quarters and relatively heavy wind. We got lucky and the cable broke during the shift from reverse to forward and left the transmission in neutral. Had it been in gear there’s no way we would have figured it out quickly enough and pictures of us would have been in the local boating magazines.
Thanks to Jonathan (http://mvdirona.com/general-comments/#comment-93820) for pointing this out.