PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A 65-foot yacht registered to gubernatorial candidate Joe Trillo started taking on water as it neared the Charlestown Breachway on Sunday morning, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.
“Coast Guard watchstanders received a 911 relay call from the Lady M at around 11 a.m. stating they had struck a rock near the Charlestown Breachway and were taking on water,’’ according to a Coast Guard posting on Facebook.
“Two 45-foot response boat crews from Coast Guard Station Point Judith responded and used dewatering pumps to keep up with the flooding.”
“With the flooding under control, the commercial salvage and towing company Safe Sea took over. They are expected to bring the yacht and passengers back to port,'' the posting said.
By the time the Coast Guard arrived, Petty Officer Kirsten Allen told The Journal, the Charlestown harbormaster was already on scene helping to pump out the engine room, which had taken on about 8 inches of water.
She said there were four people aboard at the time, and Coast Guard records indicate that Trillo was among them.
Trillo, a former Republican state lawmaker running for governor as an independent, issued a statement Monday morning, blaming the incident on inaccurate charts. He also thanked the Coast Guard, harbormasters in Charlestown and South Kingstown, Safe Seas "and all other officials involved."
“The officials arrived on scene quickly and acted with the utmost professionalism and effectiveness to ensure the safety and comfort of myself and my crew,” Trillo said.
“While this was unexpected, thankfully everyone onboard was unharmed and in good spirits throughout the ordeal,” he said. “This was a result of inaccurate NOAA charts which failed to indicate the location of a rock formation underneath the surface of the water; as was corroborated by officials on scene."
The Coast Guard on Monday morning said it has not determined what caused the boat to run into the rock.
Petty Officer Andrew Barresi said, "Since it was outside of the navigable channels, it doesn’t even meet our threshold for investigating it."
Trillo said, “The vessel has minor damage and is expected to be repaired quickly. As for the campaign, we will not slow down, and will continue today at full steam,” said Trillo. “I will also be looking to work with NOAA to have these charts updated to ensure the safety of other boaters in the future."
As recently as July 1, Trillo tweeted out a photo with the Lady M — or a lookalike yacht — with this message: “Great day for campaigning! If you’re at the beach be on the lookout!''
-- With reports from Journal Staff Writer Brian Amaral
-- This report was updated most recently at 12:15 p.m. Monday