HYANNIS – [HN NOTES] – Prior to Friday evening’s fatal boating tragedy off of Point Gammon, near the entrance to Lewis Bay (CLICK HERE for the latest on that story), there were issues involving backed up traffic after a box truck and boat trailer slid down the Hospital Boat Ramp. Every year hundreds of squid fishermen migrate to the Hospital Boat Ramp on Lewis Bay Road for the annual opportunity to night fish for squid. According to one fisherman, the nighttime is the best time for fishing because they can use their powerful lights to attract squid closer to the boats. This time of year, one can look off shore during the overnight and see a flotilla of well lighted small craft out on the horizon, either off of Centerville or Hyannisport (CLICK HERE to see a May 6th HN photo of what that looks like).
The numbers of small vessels that launch from the Hospital Boat Ramp varies depending on the day of the week… but each year HN has observed the numbers of early spring nighttime fishing boats increase significantly. For many, the waters off of Hyannis and West Yarmouth are new to them. For many, the hazards, including rocks and fog, are a very real concern. (CLICK HERE for a 2015 HN story of one couple becoming lost off of Hyannisport)
HN has personally fished the same waters in younger days… and the waters in and around Point Gammon are especially dangerous, even for those with loads of experience fishing that area.
It’s too early to tell what exactly caused Friday evening’s tragic boating accident… but it’s not too early to begin thinking about boater safety and how to make this time of year safer for everyone.
The HN images on this page show some of a number of hopeful fishermen and women who visit Hyannis each spring to take their chances out jigging for squid throughout the overnights (All photos were taken this past Friday, May 15, 2020). It has been my personal experience that these visitors are very friendly and easy to engage in communication with, even when there is a so called “language barrier” (Friday evening’s victim was said to be a 55-year-old Vietnamese male). It is also my personal impression that many of the boaters are very new to the area… and likely also very inexperienced navigating some of the especially hazardous areas of Nantucket Sound. While it remains uncertain what exactly caused the recent tragedy, it is perhaps well to remember the hazards of boating and the need to continually evaluate the need for increased boater safety awareness and enforcement this time of year.