SUNAPEE- For unknown reasons, the MV Kearsarge dinner boat sunk at the town docks Thursday night.
The back end of the boat lay on the Sunapee Harbor floor, its nose still afloat.
"It's pretty much sunk, most of it is on the bottom," said owner Peter Fenton.
The 30-year-old, 34-ton boat, which Fenton said is valued at more than half a million dollars, was seen above water at 4 p.m. Thursday, and then found with its back end sunk to the bottom at about 7 p.m. Thursday night.
"It was checked on as it is every day at 4 p.m., and then a little after 7, we came down and found it this way," he said. "We don't know what happened yet at all. That boat has a steel hull."
The state's Marine Patrol was called to the scene, as were workers from the Department of Environmental Services, who fitted the boat with a hazardous materials containment boom in case the boat leaked oil.
Marine Patrol Sgt. Joshua Dirth said there did not appear to be any leakage, or any environmental or safety issues surrounding the boat's sinking.
"The boom is in place," he said.
The MV Kearsarge carries 80 people when its owners – Fenton and his father Peter Fenton Sr., known as "Pete and Re-Pete" in their radio commercials – conduct their almost-nightly cruises from May to October.
The ship offers dinner on two decks of enclosed dining, on cruises which take the boat around Lake Sunapee and last for about two hours.
Fenton said his family, which purchased the boat about 10 years ago and started their business, has insurance on it.
"It's definitely salvageable," he said.
A crane will be brought in on Saturday to remove the boat from the water, he said.
MV Kearsarge web site.