Smith Point Sea Rescue editor Jim Bullard reported crews have responded to the following calls for assistance:
May 8: At 1:20pm the Northumberland County Sherrif’s Office (NCSO) received a 911 call from a resident of Chesapeake Beach who reported that her husband and son had not returned home after boarding kayaks. She suspected they had been blown out to sea by powerful offshore winds. Rescue 1 with a crew of three joined the search for the boaters. Fortunately, the boaters were found by the Virginia Marine Police and were returned home safely. Time on call, 2 hours
May 15: At 9:55am the captain of a 36’ sailboat reported that he had run aground in the Coan River on an outgoing tide. Rescue 2 was dispatched from Olverson’s Marina with a crew of three and was able to pull the sailboat into deeper water where it was able to continue its journey. Time on call, 2 hours
May 15: At 2pm the owner of a WWII era 75’ wooden vessel reported that the ship was sinking at his dock and requested that Sea Rescue tow it to marina for haul out. A crew of four responded on Rescue 1 and after surveying the situation declined to tow the boat for fear it would sink before reaching the marina. Time on call, 2 hours
May 19: At 8:20pm a Kinsale resident reported the engine on his 21’ center console had failed off Mundy Point. Rescue 2 with a crew of five located the boat with two adults and two minors on board and was able to tow it to Lodge Landing where the owner had left the boat trailer. Time on call, 3 hours
May 20: At 8:50am Rescue 1 and Rescue A (skiff) pulled a 24’ sailboat off the sandbar at Fleeton Point. The captain had just purchased the boat for $350 in Reedville. He had traveled from his home in WDC in an Uber with a 2hp outboard engine in the trunk. After paying for the boat and installing the small engine he set out to sail back the WDC. He motored out of Cockell Creek where the wind overpowered his small engine and blew the boat aground. The rescue crew towed the boat into Fairport Marina (see June 29 for follow-up). Time on call, 2 hours
May 25: At 5:15pm the captain of a 40’ sailboat reported that he was hard aground in rough seas off Point Lookout on the Maryland side of the Potomac. Rescue 1 with a crew of three departed Reedville and motored 1.5 hours across the Potomac. The crew was able to drag the heavy full-keel sailboat off the sandbar (in only 3’ of water) and watch it continue on its way to Kinsale VA. Time on call, 4 hours
May 28: At 11am a 30’ Rinker cruiser ran out of fuel as it approached Smith Point Marina in the Little Wicomico River. The new owner was moving the boat from Delaware to Virginia Beach. A member of Smith Point Sea Rescue used his private boat to tow the Rinker into the marina for fuel. Unfortunately, after buying fuel the captain became entangled in oyster floats as he attempted to leave the marina and again needed assistance. Time on call, 1 hour
June 6: At 2:31pm the captain of a 27’ Pearson sailboat reported he was 2 miles north of Smith Point Light. His engine was too weak to advance against headwinds and he needed to return to Reedville. Rescue 1 with a crew of four towed the sailor to Fairport. Time on call 2 hours
June 8: At 5:15pm the Sheriff received an emergency call from a smart watch located near the jetties where the Little Wicomico River empties into the Potomac River. A crew of four was joined by members of the Northumberland Rescue Squad on Rescue 3 to search the area by boat. After nothing was found several crew members were put ashore to thoroughly search the beach. No one was found and the crews were returned to base. Please be careful with this feature on your smartwatch (or phone). If you activate it by mistake, call 911 to cancel. Time on call 1 hour
June 12: At 7:30pm the owner of a 29’ Ericson sailboat called for help from Fleets Bay/Dymer Creek when his engine failed. Rescue 1 with a crew of four was dispatched from Reedville and towed the sailboat to the owner’s dock in Reedville. Time on call, 3 hours
June 20: At 5:05pm a waterfront resident called to report a sailboat aground near marker 4 in the Yeocomico River. Rescue 2 with a crew of three searched the area and found no boat, which likely had managed to free itself with a rising tide. Time on call, 1 hour
June 25: At 7:50am the captain of a 25’ Sea Hawk called to report he was on the Fleeton sandbar with engine problems. The boat had gone aground, but when the captain attempted to back off the bar the engine appeared to have choked on sand and mud ingested. Rescue 1 and skiff A towed the boat to Shell Landing. Time on call, 1 hour
June 29: At 8:00am a crew of four on Rescue 1 picked up the 24’ sailboat rescued on May 20 that was still at Fairport Marina and towed the boat and owner up the Potomac River to about Virmar Beach, where Rescue 2 with a crew of three was waiting to tow the sailboat further up the Potomac to Coles Point Marina (just out of Smith Point Sea Rescue’s waters). The owner, who had been living on the boat, still had plans to sail the boat to WDC.
The members of Smith Point Sea Rescue would like to ask boaters to adhere to warnings relayed by the Coast Guard and the Weather Service. 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 Bay to the eastern shore. The organization receives no regular governmental monetary support and depends solely on donations to fund their operations.
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.