MOUNT DESERT, Maine — A lobster fishing boat caught fire late Thursday morning as it was tied up to a moored float in Northeast Harbor.

The owner was on the boat at the time but was not injured, according to the local fire chief.

The extent of damage to the boat was not clear, Chief Michael Bender said Thursday, but it was still floating and there was no visible damage on the boat’s exterior when firefighters got the flames under control. The boat, Wave Guide, was towed over to the public dock by another fishing boat, Crazy Water, to make the response effort easier, Bender said.

The fire chief said the boat owner, Ryan Graves, was on board the vessel when the fire started, but the blaze was reported about 11 a.m. by Harbormaster John Lemoine, who saw smoke coming from the boat across the harbor.

Bender said the fire appears to have started when wood trim around the engine’s exhaust pipe ignited. He said that firefighters could still hear “popping” under the deck after all the visible flames were put out, which indicated the fire was still smoldering out of sight.

“We definitely have to open it up to get at it,” said Bender as he stood at the end of the ramp leading to the float where Wave Guide was tied up.

A small group of people, including members of the Coast Guard, had gathered at the harbor’s edge early Thursday afternoon to observe the response effort. Fire trucks with flashing lights were idling in the adjacent parking lot — including a pumper truck with a length of hose running down the ramp to the boat, just in case — while firefighters and Graves planned how to get inside the boat’s structure with minimal damage.

Bender said he was not sure if the boat was insured.

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Bill Trotter

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....