A Portland-based fishing boat had to be towed back to port by the Coast Guard on Wednesday night after its crew extinguished an onboard fire about 6 miles from the Jeffreys Ledge fishing area.

The Coast Guard said a crew member aboard the 40-foot Gretchen Marie reported a fire with heavy smoke in the boat’s pilothouse about 7:40 p.m.

The two men aboard the dragger managed to put out the engine fire themselves using fire extinguishers before a Coast Guard rescue boat and helicopter arrived. Both men were unharmed.

The Coast Guard sent a 47-foot boat from its South Portland station and an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from its Cape Cod air station.

The helicopter departed after the crew boarded the rescue boat and hooked up the Gretchen Marie to be towed.

The Gretchen Marie arrived and anchored around 11:20 p.m. in Portland, where the Fire Department assessed the fire damage.

“The Gretchen Marie crew handled the emergency flawlessly, the crew had the proper safety equipment on board, quickly responded to the fire, and notified the Coast Guard of the emergency,” Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Kurt Hein, a watchstander at the Sector Northern New England command center, said in a written statement.

“The fishermen and Coast Guard crews exhibited great teamwork and professionalism, ensuring the safety of the crew members.”

Jeffreys Ledge is a long, shallow area created by glacial deposits that stretches from the coast of Rockport to southeast of Cape Elizabeth.

It is surrounded by deep water, making it a productive area for fishing.

The fire aboard the Gretchen Marie broke out while the vessel was near the southern edge of the ledge approaching Portland.

Scott Dolan can be contacted at 791-6304 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: @scottddolan

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