At 9:30 p.m. the Northumberland County Sheriff’s Office (NCSO) received a call from a boater stranded in Cockrell Creek with engine failure. Rescue 1 with a crew of four located the 20’ bowrider with four aboard and towed it to the Sea Rescue boathouse for the night. The captain and passengers were driven to their home at the headwaters of the Great Wicomico river. The following morning the Sea Rescue crew discovered that the boat was now flooded, so they pumped it out and towed it to the Shell Landing ramp where they helped the owner put the boat on a trailer. Time on call, 3 hours.
At 10:53 a.m. the captain of a 25’ cabin cruiser called Sea Rescue when his engine failed as he motored in the Chesapeake Bay off Dividing Creek. Rescue 1 responded with a crew of 6 and towed the boat with four passengers to the owner’s dock in Reedville. Time on call, 3 hours.
At 5:49 p.m. the captain of a 30’ sailboat from Urbanna called to report his engine had failed as he entered the Great Wicomico River. Rescue 1 was dispatched from Reedville with a crew of four and towed the vessel with four aboard to Horn Harbor. Time on call, 3 hours.
At 11 a.m. the captain of a 42’ sailboat called 911 to report that he was alone and aground in the Coan River as he tried to reach Lewisetta Marina. Rescue 3 was dispatched from Olverson’s Marina with a crew of 5 and found that the vessel had freed itself from the sandbar but that the captain was unfamiliar with the approach to the marina and feared going aground again. The crew escorted the sailboat into a slip at the marina. Time on call, 2 hours.
At 10 a.m. Rescue 3 with a crew of four located a 25’ sailboat anchored just inside Lynch Point on the Yeocomico River. The captain had called the night before to report that his engine had failed and he was safely anchored, but he would like assistance in the morning. The crew towed the vessel into Olverson’s Marina where a new water pump impeller was installed. Time on call, 1.5 hours.
At 4 p.m. NCSO received a 911 call from the captain of an 18’ skiff who was alone with engine failure near the target ship in the middle of the Bay. Rescue 1 motored out of Reedville with a crew of five and towed the boat back to Point Lookout State Park in Maryland. Time on call, 4 hours.
At 2:30 p.m. a resident on Cranes Creek called to report that the engine had failed on his 16’ skiff and he needed help getting back to his dock. Knowing this is shallow water a crewman from Sea Rescue responded with Sea Rescue’s Reedville skiff and towed the man to his dock. Time on call, 2 hours.
An unusual mission, for sure! on September 27, two teenage sisters (whose father works at Wallops Island) launched a weather balloon from St. Michaels, MD., as part of a high-altitude science experiment. Their goal is to perfect a system and device that will allow them to take photos from 100,000 feet, above the atmosphere(!). Attached to the balloon was a monitoring device they built themselves. The device included a camera, solar panels, a GPS tracking system, and a home-made parachute. The girls tracked the balloon through the night as it traveled out over the ocean at 70,000 feet before turning west at daybreak and crossing the Eastern Shore. On September 28, the girls received a message from the device that the balloon had burst and the device was now floating in the Chesapeake Bay near Reedville, VA. The girls contacted a resident of Reedville and asked for help retrieving their device. The Reedville resident contacted Smith Point Sea Rescue and of course SPSR volunteered to try and help. With the GPS coordinates the girls provided, members Andy Kauders and Dave Godwin launched Sea Rescue’s shallow water skiff in Reedville and motored out to the location off Dameron Marsh, not at all sure what they were looking for. They found nothing but knew that the coordinates were now many hours old… so they started slowly following the wind and current and sure enough there was a strange looking Styrofoam box floating high in the water, wrapped in bright orange tape and trailing lines and wires! They retrieved the box and returned to Reedville where they called the girls to report their success. The sisters, ages 19 and 15, jumped into a car and drove all the way from Crisfield to Reedville, arriving after dark, where they gleefully retrieved their device. When asked about her unusual skills, Sydney, the 19- year-old, was quick to share the credit. “Oh, this is a family project, I work on this with my four siblings, ages 7-20!” In Sea Rescue, they never know what they’re about to find when they launch their boats, but this was truly unusual! Time on call, 2 hours.
At 2:30 p.m. the captain of a 32’ trawler named “Knot to Worry” reported he was dead in the water off Fleeton Beach. The captain had just bought the used boat in Ridge, Maryland and was assured by the seller that there was plenty of gas in the tank. “Knot!” Rescue 1 with a crew of four towed the vessel with 3 aboard into Jennings Marina for fuel. Time on call, 1.5 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.
Sisters with their science experiment on September 28.