The U.S. Coast Guard rescued a pair of lobstermen Thursday after their boat struck a rock, forcing them to swim to nearby Nash Island.
A friend of the fishermen called the Coast Guard at 5:40 p.m. to report that the pair went fishing in their 21-foot boat around 11 a.m., were expected back by 1 p.m. and they hadn’t showed.
Earlier in the day, a swell hit the lobster boat, forcing it onto a rock in the shallow waters near the island and leaving it disabled, according to a Friday statement by the Coast Guard. The fishermen reportedly then jumped out of the boat and swam to the nearby island to await help.
After a friend reported the fishermen missing, the Coast Guard launched a 47-foot motor lifeboat crew from the station in Jonesport and a helicopter from Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
As the boat crew approached Eastern Harbor, they saw a red flare fired from the direction of the islands and went to investigate. They found the partially submerged boat and spotted two men waving and whistling at them from the island.
The rescue boat couldn’t approach the island because of the jagged rocks and shallow water, so they stood by and waited for the helicopter to arrive. The helicopter landed and brought the fishermen back to Jonesport, where their wives and EMTs waited.
Nash Island lies about 3 miles off the coast of Addison in Washington County.
The Coast Guard release didn’t make clear whether the fishermen were stranded on Little Nash Island or neighboring Big Nash Island. Both islands are barren and uninhabited. The smaller one is home to a historic lighthouse and a few crumbling building foundations. Big Nash has a small camp used a few months out of the year by farmers who keep sheep on the islands.