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Navy boat hits barrier and sinks; 3 sailors injured in WA

Engineman 2nd Class Shaun McGuire manned the forward M240 machine gun aboard 34-footer Sea Ark patrol boat during simulated small boat attack exercise. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Boatswain’s Mate Nelson Doromal Jr./Released)
January 23, 2023

A Navy boat struck a “security barrier” and sank at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor in Washington state Thursday evening, injuring three sailors and prompting an investigation.

The boat, described as a “small Naval vessel,” was operating inside the base’s perimeter when it sank around 7:20 p.m., according to a short press release posted on Facebook. The boat’s three active-duty crew members put out a distress call and “were recovered from the water” by another vessel, the release stated.

The three sailors suffered non-life-threatening injuries and were taken to a local medical facility. The incident is now being investigated.

As of Friday, there were no indications of a fuel leak or any environmental impacts, according to the release. Base personnel are monitoring that situation, as well as determining “the best course of action for recovery of the boat.”

The incident involved no other vessels, and “all physical security measures remain fully operational,” according to the release.

Naval Base Kitsap is the third-largest Navy installation in the U.S. and “arguably the most complex,” consisting of multiple installations on Washington’s Kitsap Peninsula, according to its website. The Bangor installation, where the boat sank on Friday, works mainly with submarines, according to the Defense Department.

The base hosts all types of submarines and two Nimitz-class aircraft carriers, according to its website. The Bangor installation is home to more than 15,000 active-duty service members, as well as their families, and more than 20,000 civilian employees, according to the DoD.

In 2019, a 21-year-old sailor working on a submarine stationed at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor died after crashing his moped two weeks earlier.