Smith Point Sea Rescue vice president Jim Bullard reported crews recently responded to the following calls for assistance.
June 8: At 12:30 p.m., the captain of a 40-foot trawler called on his VHS radio reporting that he had run out of gas in Cockrell Creek and needed assistance. Rescue 1 was dispatched and found two people aboard who live on this vessel. The crew provided five gallons of gas, but the captain was unable to restart an engine. Rescue 1 then towed the trawler into a marina in Reedville for repairs. Time on call, 1.5 hours.
June 9: At 4:10 p.m., the Sheriff received a call from a boater east of Dameron Marsh with a dead battery. Rescue 1 departed Reedville and found the boat with three aboard, who were happy to show the 50-pound cobia they had caught. The crew provided the jump battery pack and the fishermen were able to start their engine and motor back to their home in Reedville. Time on call, 1 hour.
June 10: At 8:15 p.m., the Sheriff received a 911 call from a boater who had broken down “near a white buoy in the Bay,” and was in falling light, rough seas and in danger of swamping. Rescue I scrambled and called the boater on his mobile phone. The boater and his friend had trailered their 16-foot bass boat from Waynesboro to Reedville that morning with a plan to cruise to Tangier Island, ride their bikes around the island, then return to Reedville before dark.
On their way back from Tangier Island the seas became rough and their motor quit. The last thing they saw before dark was a “white buoy” but otherwise had no idea where they were. The crew on Rescue 1 rushed to the only white buoy in the area and found no boat. They called the boater back and asked what their depth finder indicated. Based on the depth reported the experienced crew guessed that the men must be east of Smith Point Light (the “white buoy!”), where they found the boat nearly swamped. They took the two boaters into Rescue 1 and were able to tow their boat back to Shell Landing.
These boaters were lucky to be found and saved. Their boat was too small and their knowledge too limited for such an adventure. Time on call, 3 hours.
June 11: At 2:25 p.m., the Sheriff received a call from a boater in the Potomac River with a dead engine. Rescue 3 was dispatched from Olverson’s Marina and found a 26-foot center console with five aboard off of Garners Creek. Rescue 3 took the vessel under tow and returned to the owner’s dock on Glebe Creek. Time on call, 2 hours.
June 14: At 2 p.m., the U.S. Coast Guard in Portsmouth called asking for assistance in finding a kayak reported to be abandoned and floating in the Chesapeake Bay off the Potomac River. Rescue 1 joined the Coast Guard’s helicopter and 46-cutter in the search. Rescue I found the kayak floating ½ mile east of Smith Point Light and carried it to the cutter. Time on call, 2 hours.
June 23: At 12:40 p.m., the Sheriff received a distress call from the captain of a 21-foot Carolina Skiff who reported his engine had failed just inside Cranes Creek. Rescue 1 departed Reedville, but before they reached the site a passing boater had towed the broken down boat to the owner’s dock. Time on call, 1 hour.
June 25: At 3:10 p.m., a passenger on the Claud W. Somers, a 43-foot skipjack, called a member of Smith Point Sea Rescue to report the starter on the push boat had failed and assistance was needed. This was a private charter with about 20 people on board operated by the Reedville Fishermen’s Museum. Rescue 1 located the vessel in calm waters near Buoy 6 in the Great Wicomico and towed it back to the museum. Time on call, 2.5 hours.
June 26: At 1:20 p.m., the Sheriff received a call from the captain of a 22-foot center console that had broken down and was now beached in Maryland, 1.5 miles north of Point Lookout on the bay. Rescue 3 was dispatched from Olverson’s Marina, but before they reached the site the captain reported a trailer had been brought to the boat and no assistance was needed. Rescue 3 returned to base. Time on call, 1.5 hours.
June 26: At 1:50 p.m., the captain of a 42-foot sailboat reported he had engine problems in the Middle Bay, 10 miles northwest of Smith Point. Rescue 1 was dispatched from Reedville and located the boat using the latitude and longitude provided by the captain. The sailboat with two aboard was then towed into Jennings Boatyard in Reedville for repairs before resuming their voyage home near Annapolis. Time on call 3.5 hours.
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 is located on Lodge Creek near Callao.