RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Two sailing yachts ran aground at the North Carolina coast in just three days last week — marking the third and fourth shipwrecks at the Outer Banks this year, according to officials.
One sailboat was quickly buried by shifting sand near Ocracoke Inlet in the southern Outer Banks, according to the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum. The other sailboat ran aground just south of Oregon Inlet and was still sitting on the shore Friday.
The first incident happened on Nov. 2 and involved a 51-foot sailing yacht near Ocracoke Inlet. The sailboat ran aground that morning and the crew made it to shore without injuries, the museum said.
“The shifting shoals have quickly covered the vessel with sand. Her mast and spreaders are all that remain to be seen,” officials with the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum said in a news release.
Just three days later on Nov. 5 around 9 p.m., another sailboat ran aground — this time much further north near the Oregon Inlet, according to Chicamacomico Banks Fire & Rescue, which has stations in Salvo and Rodanthe.
The U.S. Coast Guard could not get to Malolo, a 42-foot sailboat from New London, Conn., on Pea Island near South Point because of the shallow water near the shore, rescue crews and officials said.
Crews from the Rodanthe rescue station were able to access the Malolo from the shore and brought one person to shore from the vessel.
Photos from various social media accounts on Friday showed the boat had washed ashore and was still stranded on the beach.
With practically no shipwrecks so far this year, fall and winter are the worst times for them at the Outer Banks, according to two companies that offer salvage services in the area.
Saturday, weather forecasters issued a gale watch for the coastal waters from Oregon Inlet south, where high winds and large waves are expected over the weekend.
Typically between eight and 10 boats are wrecked yearly at the Outer Banks, according to Jay Phillips, owner of Phillips Boat Works in Buxton.
Phillips, who has recovered many wrecked ships in the past, said removing the buried 51-foot sailing yacht near Ocracoke Inlet will take some time. A barge with pumps and an excavator will likely be needed in the area, which is known for rough seas and for being very shallow.
The other grounded boat, the Malolo on Pea Island, will also take some time to remove, according to Luke Meekins, owner of Southside Services and Towing in Wanchese. There’s no time frame for hauling the 42-foot boat off the beach, he said.
The first shipwreck this year was in Nags Head in late May after the sailboat, The True Love, lost control functions about 90 miles off the coast and was abandoned out at sea about three weeks earlier, according to the Coastland Times.
In July, a 28-foot fishing boat ran aground on the beach at Cape Hatteras National Seashore near the northeastern entrance to Hatteras Village.