Smith Point Sea Rescue vice president Jim Bullard reported crews recently responded to the following calls for assistance.
July 5: At 4:30 p.m., the captain of an 18-foot AHOYA center console reported that she had run over a crab pot that was now tangled in the propeller. The AHOYA is a research vessel owned by Georgetown University that is used locally to study dolphins in the Chesapeake Bay. Rescue 1 was dispatched from Reedville with a crew of three and towed the vessel and its three occupants into Smith Point Marina for repairs. Time on call, 2.5 hours
July 7: At noon, the Northumberland County Sheriff’s Office (NCSO) received a call from the captain of a 38-foot sailboat that was hard aground near Mundy Point on the Yeocomico River. The captain reported that as he was lowering his sails in preparation for motoring to his dock a heavy gust of wind blew the boat up onto a shallow shoal. Rescue 3 was dispatched from Olverson’s Marina with a crew of four aboard. Initial efforts to free the sailboat failed until the Sea Rescue crew hailed a large passing cruiser and asked that captain to run his boat back and forth creating large waves. The waves lifted the sailboat just enough for Rescue 3 to pull the boat into deeper water. Time on call, 1 hour.
August 3: At 7 p.m., the NCSO called Sea Rescue with a report of a disabled boat on the beach just north of the jetty at Little Wicomico River. Rescue 1 with a crew of four responded and found six people stranded when they were unable to lower their outboard engine back into the water after a day at the beach. After attempting but failing to free the motor, the crew of Rescue 1 towed the boat and its occupants to the owner’s dock up Bridge Creek. In total darkness and a falling tide, Rescue 1 then had a difficult time finding enough deep water to exit the shallow creek. Time on call, 4 hours.
August 4: At 1:15 p.m., the captain of a 19-foot center console, with three aboard, reported that he was out of fuel in the Great Wicomico River near Sandy Point. Rescue 1 with a crew of four delivered five gallons of gasoline and stood by as the captain was able to re-start his engine. Rescue 2 then followed the boat to the fuel dock to assure all was well. Time on call, 1 hour.
August 5: At 10:05 p.m., the NCSO received a call from a solo boater who reported that his 17-foot motor boat was stuck in a gill net off Windmill Point in total darkness. The boater also made a distress call using his VHF radio. Both Smith Point Sea Rescue and the Coast Guard scrambled to help. The Coast Guard crew was able to free the boat before Rescue 1 arrived, so the Sea Rescue crew of five returned to base at 11:34 p.m. Time on call, 1.5 hours.
August 6: At 2:15 p.m., the NCSO received a call from a Northern Neck fisherman in a 22-foot center console whose engine had failed. Rescue 1 with a crew of five departed Reedville and found the boater adrift in the Middle Grounds of the Chesapeake Bay off Point Lookout. Rescue 1 towed the fisherman toward his home on Hull Creek off the Potomac. When the waters of Hull Creek became too shallow for Rescue 1 to operate, the boater called a neighbor who came out in a skiff and was able to tow his friend to his dock. Time on call, 4 hours.
The all-volunteer members of Smith Point Sea Rescue would like to thank the River Counties Community Foundation for providing a grant to purchase safety equipment and training for four new members of the organization, reported Bullard.
Smith Point Sea Rescue can be reached on channel 16 or by calling 911. Rescue 1 and 2 are based on the Great Wicomico River and Rescue 3 is on Lodge Creek off the Yeocomico River.