Mission Report – September, 2020

Smith Point Sea Rescue Report

Reported by Jim Bullard, Vice-President, SPSR

September 25, 2020

Smith Point Sea Rescue vice president Jim Bullard reported crews have responded to the following calls for assistance:

August 8: At 3:40pm the captain of a 24’ Aqua Sport walk-around power boat called from the Potomac River near Point Lookout to ask for assistance. His engine had overheated and he was dead in the water with three aboard. A crew of four boarded Rescue 2 in Callao and motored to Cornfield Harbor, MD where they located the boat for the long tow back to Lewisetta Marina. Time on call, 3 hours 

August 8:  At 4:45pm Rescue 3 departed from Smith Point Marina with a crew of three to pick up a 31’ Wellcraft power cruiser with a dead engine.  The crew towed the boat back to the marina for repairs.  Time on call, 1 hour

August 9: At 2 pm the captain of a 40’ sailboat called from Little Bay near White Stone. His rudder was broken and he was unable to steer. Rescue 1 with a crew of four departed the Sea Rescue boathouse in Reedville and ran south down the Bay where they found the boat with two aboard. They towed the vessel back to Jennings Boatyard for repairs. Time on call 3.5 hours

August 12: At 8:50am the Virginia Marine Resources Commission requested that Sea Rescue remove a 27’ sailboat that was hard aground overnight on the Fleeton sandbar. Rescue 1 with a crew of four and Rescue skiff A nwith a crew of two were able to run a line into the sailboat in shallow water and to pull it into deep water. The captain was unable to start the sailboat’s engine so the crew towed the vessel to Jennings Boatyard for repairs. Time on call 2 hours

August 15: At 1pm the owner of a 20’ center console named “Out of Options” (!) called 911 to report he was dead in the water with five people aboard In the Potomac River. Rescue 2 was dispatched from Olverson’s Marina with a crew of four and located the vessel near red buoy #4 and towed the craft to Lewisetta Marina where the owner had left his trailer. Time on call, 3 hours

August 17: At 2:35pm the captain of a 17’ center console with four aboard called from the Yeocomico River with a dead engine. Rescue 2 with a crew of four left Olverson’s and towed the boat to the owner’s dock at the head of Lodge Creek.  Time on call, 2 hours 

August 17: At 4:30pm the owner of a 25’ cabin cruiser with 2 aboard called 911 from the mouth of the St. Mary’s River across the Potomac in Maryland. His engine had quit in rough seas and he needed to be towed back to Virginia. Rescue 2 was dispatched from Callao with a crew of four and ran through heavy seas to the anchored vessel. The crew attached a line to the boat’s bow-ring and towed the bouncing boat all the way to Olverson’s Marina. A member of Sea Rescue drove the exhausted couple to their home. They returned the next day to retrieve their boat on their trailer. Time on call, 4 hours

August 17: No sooner had the weary Sea Rescue crew returned to their homes from the two missions above when they were called out again, now in total darkness. A waterfront resident in Northumberland Shores reported that a small open boat with three aboard had vanished in a powerful thunderstorm now underway in the Potomac River. He advised that the boat had not moved for several hours before the storm and he speculated that it was broken down with no means of communication. Rescue 2 with the same crew aboard began searching the dark waters for the boat.  With the help of the homeowner on his cell phone the crew finally located the boat after more than an hour of searching. The boat was anchored, dimly lit, and the family aboard had made no effort to be found. When approached, the man onboard claimed they were night fishing and did not want any help. He explained his low lights by saying his battery was nearly dead but that a relative ashore was now bringing him a fresh battery. Rescue 2 returned to base. Time on call, 3 hours

August 20:  At 5:45pm the owner of a 19’ SeaPro center console called for help when he couldn’t restart his engine after fishing in the mouth of the Coan River. Rescue 2 with a crew of four was dispatched from Olverson’s Marina and began searching the area reported. Eventually the boat was found with the two men onboard waving their arms after they had drifted 1.5 miles from their reported position. (Please put an anchor out when awaiting rescue!). The boat was towed into Lewisetta Marina and a Sea Rescue crewmember drove the men to their home to pick up a trailer. Time on call 4 hours

August 22: At 2pm the captain of a 26’ cabin cruiser called from Cockrell Creek near the Stack to report he’d lost his steering. Rescue 1 with a crew of five towed the disabled boat into Buzzard’s Point Marina for repairs. A Sea Rescue member drove the two boaters to their home in Mallard Bay. Time on call, 2 hours

August 22: At 3:30m the owner of a 20’ Mako center console called from the Potomac River off Sandy Point to report his engine kept dying and he needed a tow to a marina. Rescue 2 with a crew of four responded from Olverson’s and towed the boat with two aboard to Krentz Marina for repairs. Time on call, 2 hours 

August 24: At 6pm the new owner of a ketch sailboat who was on the boat for the first time ran aground near the Stack in Cockrell Creek. Rescue 1 with a crew of four pulled the boat free and towed it to Jennings Boatyard where a crew member helped the owner secure the boat to a floating dock. Time on call, 1 hours

August 26: At 8am the captain of a 37’ Bayliner motor-yacht asked for assistance moving the yacht with a disabled engine from the Coan River to Olverson’s Marina for repairs. Rescue 2, dwarfed by the large yacht (see photo above), conducted the tow in near ideal conditions. Time on call, 3 hours

August 26: At 3pm the owner of a 21’ Sea Hunt walk-around reported his engine had failed (guessed bad gas). Rescue 1 with a crew of three located the boat with two aboard near buoy R6 in Ingram Bay and towed it to Shell Landing. Time on call, 2 hours 

August 27: At 1:40pm a Kinsale resident called to ask for help as he was alone and broken down in the middle of the Potomac River near buoy green 9. Rescue 2 responded from Olverson’s Marina with a crew of three and found the 19’ Mako center console and towed it to the Kinsale bridge. Owner was then able to restart engine and limp to his dock upstream of the low bridge. 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 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 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. 

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