On Monday, June 24, the F/V Jordyn Rose, a 32-foot fiberglass Bristol Bay gillnetter, caught fire and burned up almost completely. Fortunately, everyone got off easily as the boat was beached at Naknek Point near Naknek, Alaska.

According to sources from around the bay, the captain, Mark McCutcheon of Friday Harbor, Washington, left two crewmen aboard and was on his way to King Salmon to pick up another crewman. Michelle Connor filmed ineffectual efforts to extinguish the fire on the fiercely blazing vessel. “The captain was on the bluff with us,” she said in a Facebook post.

The cause of the fire remains open to speculation, and due to the severity of the fire there is not much hope of determining the cause with any certainty. According to Fire Chief Sylvester Jones in King Salmon, Alaska, there was not much left of the boat to investigate. “He might have been having some trouble with his electric gear controls,” Jones says. “That’s what we heard, and that may be why he was on the beach to begin with. We suspect it was something electrical that started the fire.” But as Jones notes, with nothing left to investigate, they will never know.

According to Yakof Basargin, owner of Freestyle Marine in Homer, Alaska, he built the hull in 2012, and the original owner, Jeremiah Carr, finished the vessel. Mark McCutcheon bought the boat, and had just launched it, preparing for the 2023 season. McCutcheon declined to comment.

Fire is the second most common cause of vessel loss, after sinking, and fishing vessels are the second most likely vessels to be lost to fire, though far behind cargo vessels at number one. The most common causes of fire on board are electrical in nature, AC or DC or batteries.

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Paul Molyneaux is the Boats & Gear editor for National Fisherman.

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