Boat Runs Aground in Santa Barbara After Fisherman Knocked Unconscious in Collision

Sailor Trapped Beneath 200-Pound Box of Lobster Bait Aboard Commercial Fishing Boat ‘Martha Jane’

No oil was spilled in the ocean on November 30 as the commercial fishing boat Martha Jane ran ashore near Santa Barbara’s Mesa Lane just west of the Mesa Lane stairs after colliding — albeit glancingly — with a 130-foot-long research vessel, the Clean Ocean

The collision took place five miles off the coast and was enough to knock the owner — well-known local fisherman Mark Becker — back into his boat’s fish hold, where a 200-pound box of lobster bait then fell on top of him. At the time, Becker’s boat was on automatic pilot heading toward the shore. Becker was reportedly knocked unconscious, having sustained a wound to his head. Not only that, he was also pinned down by the weight of his bait box. 

A Coast Guard helicopter tracked the route of Becker’s boat as it headed toward land. Santa Barbara City firefighters were dispatched to the scene for when it arrived. Becker’s brother was there as well and was reportedly the one to first board the Martha Jane and discover his brother’s whereabouts underneath the lobster bait. 

Mark Becker advised first responders that there were 100 gallons of diesel fuel on board the beached boat. None, according to Erik Engebretson of the city’s Waterfront Department, got into the water or on the local beach. 

Becker is reportedly recovering from his head wound, and his boat is under repair. 

Correction: The incident occurred on November 30, not the day before Thanksgiving as originally reported in an earlier version of this story.


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