Pair of boats stranded at Oregon Inlet on the move, one at Ocracoke still stuck

The Reel Lucky being pulled up the beach Thursday afternoon to Ramp 4. [photo courtesy Capt. Stuart Wescott/Sea Tow Oregon Inlet]

Two of the latest vessels to fall victim to the Graveyard of the Atlantic are on the move at Oregon Inlet, while a third still sits on Ocracoke where its been resting for more than a week.

The Bite Me, a 32-foot Albemarle sportfisher registered in Pennsylvania, and the Reel Lucky, a 35-foot JC registered to an owner from New Jersey, grounded in the breakers of the treacherous inlet almost the exact same spot a scallop trawler came ashore in 2020.

According to a crew member, the Bite Me ran into trouble trying to navigate the inlet and was being assisted by the Reel Lucky when both boats ended up in the shallows and came aground about a mile south of Cape Hatteras National Seashore ORV ramp 4 on Bodie Island Spit.

Five people were on the two vessels and made it on shore unharmed.

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After getting approval from the National Park Service for a salvage plan, crews from Sea Tow Oregon Inlet and Southside Services and Towing of Wanchese were able to pull both boats onto the beach in just a few hours.

The Reel Lucky was already being pulled up the beach by an excavator late Thursday afternoon, while the Bite Me was placed on giant Styrofoam blocks.

Capt. Stuart Wescott of Sea Tow said both vessels will be loaded on to trailers, which probably would not happen until Friday because they were running out of daylight. The vessels will likely be hauled to a boat yard to check for damage and necessary repairs.

Boats from all along the East Coast, and based here on the Outer Banks, run in and out of the treacherous inlet during the winter chasing giant bluefin tuna that show up from January to March as close as 10 miles offshore.

The chase for the fish that can weigh up to 1,500 pounds inspired the reality TV show “Wicked Tuna Outer Banks”, which had a crew out filming the scene at Oregon Inlet for the next season of shows on the National Geographic Channel.

The ‘Vivens Aqua’ on the South Point beach on Ocracoke at low tide Feb. 2, 2022. [Connie Leinbach/Ocracoke Observer]

Meanwhile farther south, the Ocracoke Observer reports a Morehead City-based towing company had been able to get the Vivens Aqua in a position where it was no longer in danger from the sea, and can be removed via the beach in a similar fashion to the Oregon Inlet boats.

But the owner of the 55-foot yacht was running into issues with an insurance company on salvaging the boat, which he has remained with since January 25.

Once a salvage plan is presented, the National Park Service said Thursday they will review it and determine if a special use permit can be issued for removal attempts using a different method.