SALEM — Slow and steady may have saved a sailor from serious injury on Salem Harbor yesterday after a 20-foot power boat rammed an 8-foot, motorized, rubber dinghy.

The accident, which sent the owner of the dinghy to Salem Hospital, happened in the mooring field near Winter Island around 5:55 p.m. Brad Peckham of Burlington, piloting the rubber boat, had just emerged from behind a larger vessel when he saw the powerboat helmed by Tyler Bickford of Salem bearing down on him.

Bickford saw him, too.

"But he was unable to stop," Assistant Harbormaster Mark Cassola said. Instead, he crashed into the little boat and knocked it backward, sending Peckham sprawling. But because Bickford was going no faster than 3 to 5 miles per hour, the raft wasn't capsized and Peckham stayed dry but shaken.

In fact, Cassola said, both men seemed shaken by the incident.

But he noted the importance of maintaining a reasonable speed in preventing a more serious incident.

Peckham experienced neck and shoulder pain and seemed somewhat confused in the aftermath, Cassola said. Yet, he had to be persuaded to go to the hospital after Bickford had provided assistance and towed him to the dock.

Cassola found fault with neither boater.

"It was an accident," he said.

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