Smith Point Sea Rescue vice president Jim Bullard reported crews recently responded to the following calls for assistance:
November 1: At 10:30 a.m., the captain of a 36-foot Beneteau sailboat called Sea Rescue asking for help. He reported he was aground in Lodge Creek with five people aboard. His engine failed shortly after leaving his marina and before he could set his anchor the boat was blown onto a sandbar. Without his engine the captain could not free the boat. Rescue 3 with two crew aboard was dispatched from Olverson’s Marina, pulled the sailboat off the sandbar and into deeper water, then towed it back to its slip in the marina. Time on call, 1 hour.
November 4: At 3:30 p.m., the captain of a 50-foot trawler traveling from Virginia Beach with three aboard called the sheriff when he ran aground in Cockrell Creek. Rescue 1 with four crew aboard was able to pull the heavy boat free and into deep water where the captain was able to restart his engine. Rescue 1 then escorted the trawler into the docks at The Crazy Crab in Reedville. Time on call, 1 hour.
November 5: At 9:30 a.m., the captain of a 35-foot sailing catamaran from Boston called 911 asking for assistance. He had anchored in Cockrell Creek but during the night a heavy wind caused his anchor to drag. His awoke to find his sailboat hard against a dock in shallow water. Rescue 1 was dispatched with three crew and towed the sailboat into deep water and helped the captain reset his anchor. Time on call, 1 hour.
November 8: At 6:40 a.m., the captain of a 50-foot deadrise called to report he was two miles south of Smith Point Light in the Chesapeake Bay and his vessel had lost its steering. Rescue 1 was dispatched from Reedville with four crew aboard and towed the boat into Jennings Boatyard for repairs. Time on call, 2.5 hours.
November 12: At 4 p.m., the commercial rescue service Sea Tow called Sea Rescue asking for help. One of their clients from New Jersey in a 38-foot sailboat was experiencing engine problems near Smith Point Light and Sea Tow service was too far away to be of timely assistance. Rescue 1 with four crew aboard departed the Sea Rescue boathouse in Reedville and towed the sailboat into Jennings Boatyard for repairs. Time on call, 3 hours.
November 17: At 9 a.m., the sheriff received a call from a local resident in a 23-foot center console whose engine had failed near the Smith Point Jetty. Rescue 1 with a crew of four responded from Reedville and towed the boat to the owner’s dock in Sherwood Forrest Shores on the Little Wicomico. Time on call, 3 hours.
November 18: At 9:30 a.m., a member of Sea Rescue was fishing in his personal boat just outside the Smith Point Jetty when he heard a loud explosion and saw immediate smoke. He pulled in his lines and rushed into the Little Wicomico where he found a 22-foot inboard boat fully engulfed in flames. The boat’s captain, who had been knocked down by the explosion, had been quickly retrieved by a good Samaritan who pulled the captain and his dog into the Samaritan’s boat and motored them in to Smith Point Marina. People onshore who witnessed the explosion called the sheriff who asked that Rescue 1 respond quickly. The Sea Rescue member attempted to extinguish the fire with water and chemicals but could not fight the fuel fire. He then began collecting the debris that was floating from the burning boat. Rescue 1 arrived with a crew of four and they stayed with the burning boat until it drifted into the shallows and the fire burned out. The following day, heavy equipment was brought in to haul away what remained of the hull. Time on call, 3 hours.
November 23: At 4:30 p.m., the sheriff received a call from a man who was anchored in Ingram Bay, dead in the water after the steering cable broke on his 18-center console. Rescue 1 was dispatched from the Reedville boathouse with four crew and towed the boat with one man and his dog back to Shell Landing where the crew assisted putting the boat on its trailer. Time on call, 1 hour.
Smith Point Sea Rescue is a totally volunteer rescue unit which serves boaters from Coles Point to the mouth of the Potomac River, south to the Rappahannock River and across the Chesapeake Bay to the Eastern Shore. The organization receives no governmental monetary support and depends solely on donations to fund their operations.
Smith Point Sea Rescue can be reached on channel 16 or by calling 911. Rescue 1 and Rescue 2 are based in Reedville and Rescue 3 and 4 are on Lodge Creek near Callao.