Two sailboats that broke from their moorings during overnight hours Wednesday are seen on Sandy Beach in Rockland. Credit: Lauren Abbate / BDN

ROCKLAND, Maine ― Wind gusts nearing 50 mph broke six boats from their moorings in Rockland Harbor during the overnight and early morning hours Wednesday.

At least one of those boats was completely destroyed while several others remain washed ashore along the south end of Rockland Harbor, according to Rockland Harbormaster Ryan Murry.

With high winds expected to continue throughout the day, similar issues of boats breaking from moorings could persist. While Murry is still new in his role as harbormaster, he said it appears there are more boats than normal in the harbor for the end of October.

“With the winds staying the way they’re kind of going to be until the afternoon, it’s probably not the end of it yet,” Murry said.  

One of 6 boats that broke from their moorings on Wednesday morning due to high winds. Credit: Lauren Abbate / BDN

With sustained winds of about 25 mph ― and gusts around 50 mph ― southern and midcoast Maine have been under a National Weather Service wind advisory since 6 p.m. Tuesday.

The advisory is slated to lift at 1 p.m. today, with winds tapering down to 15 mph to 20 mph by about 5 p.m., according to Andy Pohl, a forecaster at the National Weather Service in Gray. However, wind gusts could still reach between 25 mph to 30 mph.

In Rockland, gusts were reaching about 48 mph around 3 a.m. Wednesday morning. Winds have tapered down just slightly since then, but with gusts of about 40 mph, Rockland is experiencing some of the highest winds in the state as of mid-morning, Pohl said.

“Rockland is probably the gustier part of the coast right now,” Pohl said.

Murry said his office has been able to contact the majority of the owners whose boats broke free from their anchors or moorings Wednesday, and are trying to keep an eye on the boats that are still moored in the harbor.

However, until the winds die down, there isn’t much that can be done in terms of fixing the problem. He said some efforts can be made on land to try to stop the boats that have washed ashore from slamming on rocks and causing further damage.

“There isn’t a ton, with the waves and winds, that we can do,” Murry said.

Just up the coast in Belfast, the positioning of the small city’s harbor has kept vessels protected from the northeasterly winds pummeling the coast. Belfast Harbormaster Kathy Given said she hasn’t received any reports of boats breaking free from their moorings or washing ashore.

With winds slated to die down later this afternoon, Murry said the city and local salvage crews will launch boats to assist with the vessels that are off their moorings.