‘Wicked Tuna’: How Dave Marciano’s Original Boat, Angelica Joseph, Sank While at Sea

by Lauren Boisvert
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Wicked Tuna star Dave Marciano knows a bit about the hardships of commercial fishing; in 2004, Marciano’s original boat, a 28-year-old wooden vessel, sank off the coast of Thacher Island in Rockport, Massachusetts.

Marciano and his two-person crew were cleaning the deck of the 38-foot Angelica Joseph; then the high water alarm sounded, according to the Salem Evening News. The boat was on its way back from a day of fishing; it was about 20 miles out from its home port.

Marciano explained the incident to TV Tango in 2012, stating, “we opened up a butt plank and a butt block let go.” A butt block is a way of fastening planks together when constructing a wooden boat. The block fastens by wood screws to overlapping planks, effectively connecting them. Marciano claims that the season before the Angelica Joseph sank, he had replaced all the butt blocks on the boat. “There were two butt blocks that I could never just access, the way the boat was constructed,” he said. “The area where I was taking on water was roughly in that area.”

‘Wicked Tuna’ Star On Losing His Boat

With the boat taking on water, the small crew of the Angelica Joseph was able to buy themselves enough time to notify the Coast Guard. Another boat, named Partner, was about a mile away and came to their rescue. When telling the story, Marciano said he knew he couldn’t save his boat. “I knew as long as we got clear of the vessel” he stated, “we were going to be alright, but I was going to lose the boat.”

Other boat captains who heard Marciano’s exchange with the Coast Guard said to him, “You know, you sounded as calm as an air-traffic controller”. Despite Marciano’s emergency training from the Coast Guard bolstering his calm demeaner in a crisis, the incident still shocked him. He told TV Tango, “It was surreal. You know, fishing boats sink all the time, but it was kind of like being in a car accident — you just never think it’s going to be you.”

Dave Marciano’s Current Boat

Now, on Wicked Tuna, Dave Marciano owns the Hard Merchandise; a boat he also had an incident in 2012, according to The Gloucester Times. At nearly 1 in the morning, Marciano got a call from the Coast Guard that his Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon had pinged, causing concern that there was an emergency on the water.

Marciano explained that his boat was docked; when he found it, “all I saw was the antenna sticking out of the water,” he said. “That’s not a good feeling.”

Once the Hard Merchandise was hauled out of the water, “crews found a break in a thru-hull fitting,” which caused the boat to fill up with water. Marciano said he was lucky it didn’t happen while at sea. “This could have let go 100 miles off shore. That’s the blessing, because this could have happened when we were out fishing and there would have been no way to stop it completely.”

Fans can watch the Hard Merchandise’s recovery in season 2 of Wicked Tuna. The show airs on National Geographic at 9 pm on Sundays and has recently concluded its 10th season.

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