Smith Point Sea Rescue Report

Smith Point Sea Rescue on August 5 responded to a sinking vessel at a private dock on Lodge Creek. It took three hours to raise the boat, find the source of the leak and temporarily plug it.

Smith Point Sea Rescue (SPSR) editor Dan Morissette recently reported crews responded to the following calls for assistance:

August 2: At 3:30 p.m., the SPSR Northern Fleet captain received a direct call from a former SPSR member, who stated that his neighbor had a boat that was taking on water at the neighbor’s dock at Coan Haven Road on Cellar Cove. The owner’s submersible pump was not sufficient to keep up with the water flooding the vessel.

Four SPSR crew responded in their personal vehicles to the home with additional pumps to refloat the vessel, a 31-foot Grand Banks trawler. The vessel was successfully raised in two hours. The source of the leak was then found and repaired with a temporary patch. Time on call: three hours.

August 5: At 9:45 a.m., Rescue 2 with a crew of five had departed on a training mission when a local waterman approached in his skiff and advised that a 32-foot sailboat was sinking at a private dock on Lodge Creek. Rescue 2 immediately changed course and found the vessel submerged to within a few inches of the gunwale. Power at the dock had failed, so two Rescue 2 crew assisted the owner and neighbors with running extension cords to the dock, while Rescue 2 returned to its marina so the crew could get additional pumps.

When Rescue 2 returned, the extension cords had restored power to the dock, and the crew placed three pumps in the boat for dewatering. After three hours, the boat had been raised. A through-hull fitting for the speed sensor was found to be the source of the leak and was repaired with a temporary plug. Time on call: four hours.

August 23: At 3:20 p.m., the Northumberland County Sheriff’s Office (NCSO) notified SPSR that a boat on the Potomac River near the mouth of the Yeocomico River was disabled with a crab pot in its sterndrive. Rescue 2 launched at 4:05 p.m. with a crew of four and located the vessel, a 25-foot Tiara cruiser, anchored near Hog Island with one person aboard. Rescue 2 carefully approached close to the disabled vessel in three feet of rough water, and the crew managed to get a tow line to the captain. The vessel was then towed to Lodge Landing for trailering. Time on call: two-and-a-half hours.

While engaged in the foregoing mission, Rescue 2 was called to assist an 18-foot pontoon boat, with six adults and a dog aboard, which had run out of gas on the south branch of the Yeocomico near Mill Creek. After dropping off the Tiara cruiser, Rescue 2 went out to the pontoon boat and towed it to the fuel dock at Olverson’s Marina. Time on call: one hour.

August 24: At 9 a.m., the SPSR Southern Fleet captain received a direct call from a boater requesting that his boat, a 31-foot Bertram Sportfisher with engine failure, be towed from Jennings Boatyard in Reedville to Chesapeake Cove Marina in Deltaville. Rescue 1 responded with a crew of five and completed the mission without incident. Time on call: five-and-a-half hours.

August 25: At 3:55 p.m, NCSO notified SPSR that a boat near Smith Point Light was disabled with a dead battery. Rescue 3 was dispatched with a crew of five and located the vessel, a 19-foot Sea Pro, with three persons aboard. The crew tossed a line to the captain of the disabled vessel and towed it to Smith Point Marina. Time on call: two hours.

September 3: At 1:35 p.m., NCSO notified SPSR of a disabled boat a mile northwest of Buoy 62 in the Chesapeake Bay. Rescue 1 was dispatched at 2:10 p.m. with a crew of five and located a 30-foot Bertram Sportfisher with engine problems. The disabled vessel was then towed to Buzzard Point Marina. Time on call: two-and-a-half hours.

Smith Point Sea Rescue is a 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 Smith and Tangier islands. The organization receives no regular governmental monetary support and depends solely on donations.

Smith Point Sea Rescue does not charge for its services and 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.