HARPSWELL, Maine – A 90-year-old lobsterman is eager to get back on the water after surviving the sinking of his boat by swimming to a nearby island through the cold waters of the Gulf of Maine.
Philip Tuttle, of the Great Island community of Harpswell, is on the mend, but his boat needs more work to ensure the engine is OK and the electronics are restored, daughter-in-law Verian Tuttle said Wednesday.
His boat, Queen Tut, hit rocks Saturday, lurched and took on water in choppy, 50-degree seas after the remnants of Tropical Storm Andrea passed through the area.
After the boat filled, he ended up swimming 20 to 30 yards to Hen Island. He got scrapes on his legs while crawling on the slippery rocks, where Verian Tuttle's husband and brother-in-law found him, close to hypothermia.
"He's bruised and banged up," Verian Tuttle said. "He definitely took a little bit of a beating."
It wasn't clear how deep the water was, but photos of the sunken 26-foot boat showed only the antenna and exhaust pipe above the waves.
Tuttle was patched up at a Brunswick hospital, and his boat was retrieved from the water. Two of his sons are engine mechanics, and they're getting it back in shipshape.
With help from his son and daughter-in-law, Tuttle plans to continue to fish 35 to 40 traps, enough to keep his extended family and visitors supplied with lobsters this summer.