Smith Point Sea Rescue Report

Smith Point Sea Rescue (SPSR) vice president Jim Bullard reported crews recently responded to the following calls for assistance:

October 3: At 5 p.m., the captain of an 18-foot Carolina Skiff reported his engine had failed and he was adrift near buoy 10 in the Great Wicomico River. Rescue 1 with a crew of three was dispatched from the SPSR boathouse in Reedville and located the boat with two adults and two children aboard. The boat was towed to the owner’s dock on Tipers Creek. The crew reported the two young children loved being towed by the big boat with the flashing lights. Time on call: 2 hours.

No sooner had Rescue 1 returned to base than another boater called at 7:50 p.m. to report he was hard aground on the Fleeton sandbar with a falling tide and darkness approaching. Knowing how shallow that area is, two crews were dispatched from Reedville on Rescue 1 and in shallow water skiff 1A. The crew on the skiff carried a tow rope from Rescue 1 to the grounded boat. Rescue 1, standing by in deep water, was then able to free the boat with four aboard and tow it to Ingram Bay Marina. Time on call: 2 hours.

October 4: At 4 p.m., the Coast Guard called SPSR to ask for assistance. A boater reported he was out of gas and anchored near Tangier Island. Although this boat had launched from the Eastern Shore of Maryland, since darkness was falling and all the boater needed was fuel, Rescue 1 was dispatched from Reedville with a crew of four. The small open boat with two fishermen aboard was located by using a tracking service via cell phones at 6 p.m. near Smith Island.

The crew provided five gallons of gas but the boater was unable to start his engine. The crew was not going to leave these boaters adrift as darkness fell. After discussing options with the boater it was decided Rescue 1 would tow the boat into Crisfield, Md., where the boaters could safely spend the night and retrieve their trailer in the morning. Rescue 1 completed this mission returning to their Reedville boathouse at 12:30 a.m. Time on call: 9 hours.

October 6: At 7 p.m., the captain of a 36-foot Island sailboat from North Carolina called 911 to report he was hard aground in Prentice Creek off Dividing Creek. Rescue 1 was dispatched from Reedville with a crew of five and towed the sailboat into deep water where it anchored for the night. Time on call: 3 hours.

October 8: At 1 p.m., Rescue 1 with a crew of five picked up a 35-foot sailboat with engine failure in the upper Great Wicomico River and towed it to Jennings Boatyard in Reedville to be hauled and repaired. Time on call: 3 hours.

October 13: At 9:30 a.m., Rescue 1 with a crew of four motored into the Little Wicomico River to assist a 42-foot cabin cruiser with a dead engine. The large boat was towed to a boat repair shop on Cockrell Creek. Time on call: 3 hours.

October 14: At 10:35 a.m., the owner of a 25-foot Parker center console in the upper Little Wicomico River called for assistance with engine failure. Rescue 1 with a crew of four responded from Reedville and towed the boat with one aboard to a boat repair shop on Cockrell Creek. Time on call: 2 hours.

October 17: At 1:30 p.m., the captain of a 22-foot walk around called to report he was adrift in the Coan River with a bad starter/engine failure. A member of Sea Rescue who lives nearby used his own boat to tow the disabled boat to Lewisetta Marina where a second member of SPSR met the boats and helped place the disabled boat on a trailer. Time on call: 1 hour.

October 20: At 2:30 p.m., the captain of a 27-foot sailboat called from Leadbelly’s Restaurant. He had anchored his sailboat nearby and rowed his dingy ashore for a meal. As he prepared to return to his sailboat, one of his oars broke and he was stranded ashore. Rescue 1 with a crew of three picked up the sailor and his dingy and returned them to their sailboat. Time on call: 1 hour.

November 9: At 12:15 p.m., the owner of a 25-foot cuddy cabin who had been out fishing called SPSR when he ran aground on Fleeton sandbar as he returned to Reedville. With a falling tide, he was unable to free his boat. Rescue 1 with a crew of three, and shallow water skiff Rescue A with two aboard responded. The skiff delivered a tow rope from Rescue 1 standing by in deep water. Rescue 1 then pulled the grounded boat into deep water where it could operate on its own power. Time on call: 2 hours.

November 10: At 12:30 p.m., the captain of a 30-foot Grady White walk-around called 911 when his engine failed as he crossed the Potomac River. Rescue 2 with a crew of four was dispatched from Olverson’s Marina on Lodge Creek and located the disabled boat near Green Buoy #5 in the middle of the Potomac between Point Lookout and Hull Creek. The boat, with two aboard, was towed to Lewisetta Marina where the owner docks this boat. Time on call: 3 hours.

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 VHF channel 16 or by calling 911. Rescue 1 is based in Reedville, Rescue 2 on Lodge Creek near Callao and Rescue 3 at Smith Point.