Swift currents claim third man in seven days at Cove Point on Chesapeake Bay

Cove Point site of three drownings - Ironically, behind the Calvert Sheriff and his deputies lies the beach where three men have now drowned after plunging into the swift current of the Chesapeake Bay for a swim.

Cove Point site of three drownings – Ironically, behind the Calvert Sheriff and his deputies lies the beach where three men have now drowned after plunging into the swift current of the Chesapeake Bay for a swim.  The lineup of cops and cars for a publicity photo for the Sheriff’s Office took place prior to the drowning’s.

Swift currents claim third man in seven days at Cove Point

Daniel Brown at edge of Chesapeake where he drowned.  Facebook page of Daniel Brown

Daniel Brown at edge of Chesapeake where he drowned. Facebook page of Daniel Brown

Google Map of location

LUSBY, MD. — Those who are unaware of the swift currents in the Chesapeake Bay at Cove Point Lighthouse should take note of the fact that three people have drowned at that location in one week. Daniel Jason Brown and his brother, Douglas Brown Jr. died on July 24th when both men were caught in the currents of the Bay and drowned. One Brown was recovered the day after he died while his brother’s body was found two days later.

There are strong currents which parallel the beach as Cove Point is an actual point and catches the incoming and outgoing tides daily. To avoid being caught in the current, it is wise to not go in the water past one’s knees. The Google Earth map above shows clearly the powerful currents that sweep the point. The Chesapeake Bay is here to stay and visitors should be aware of these currents.  (see more on Cove Point lighthouse below)

Calvert County Sheriff’s Capt. Todd Ireland reports that on August 1, 2015 at approximately 12:43 pm, the Calvert Control Center received a report of a person in need of rescue in the waters near the Cove Point Lighthouse. The deceased from the Cove Point drowning on Aug. 1st was identified by police as Michael Stanley Oliver, 57, of Clinton, Maryland. 

Emergency Medical Services and Calvert County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to the area. Members of the Solomon’s VFD arrived on scene by boat and pulled the victim, unresponsive, from the water.

Police say that the victim was taken to shore at the Cove Point Lighthouse where EMS performed CPR. The victim was transported by Ambulance to Calvert Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced deceased. The preliminary investigation revealed that the victim was invited to the beach by a friend who is a resident of Cove Point. The victim and his friend walked out to the point near the lighthouse where the victim decided to go into the water.

Capt. Ireland reports that the deceased’s friend very wisely decided to stay on the shore or else he would have joined his friend in drowning. A short time later, the victim was heard calling for help however, his friend was unable to reach him due to the swift current. Citizens on the beach attempted to rescue the victim by throwing him a life ring, however, they were unsuccessful.

Members of the Calvert Investigative Bureau have assumed the investigation of the case. The deceased is a 57-year-old-male of Clinton Maryland. His name is being withheld pending notification of his family.

Two men were charged during July for impaired boating on Deep Creek Lake by Maryland Natural Resources Police officers.

Adam Benjamin Harnish, 25, of Lexington Park, was stopped by officers when they noticed he was operating a personal watercraft in an unsafe manner. He registered a blood alcohol content of .11, over the legal limit of .08.

Harnish was charged with operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol, impaired boating and operating a personal watercraft within 100 feet of a dock.

Dennis Joseph Hager, 27, of Ligonier, Pa., was stopped by officers at 10 p.m. when they noticed his pontoon boat was not displaying a stern light. He registered a blood alcohol content of .18 during a breathalyzer test, more than twice the legal limit.

He was issued citations for operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol, impaired operation and failing to have proper running lights.

Both men are scheduled to appear in Garrett District Court on Sept. 16. If found guilty, each man could be fined as much as $1,585 and be sentenced to a year in jail.

Cove Point Lighthouse now is available to rent for holidays and vacations. The Coast Guard automated the light.

Cove Point Lighthouse now is available to rent for holidays and vacations. The Coast Guard automated the light.

Coast Guard information on Cove Point Lighthouse: Location: Western shore of the Chesapeake Bay, 4 miles north of the entrance to the Patuxent River
Date Built: Commissioned December 1828
Type of Structure: Conical brick tower with detached keeper’s dwelling
Height: 38 feet
Characteristics: Flashing white
Foghorn: Yes
Builder: John Donahoo
Appropriation: $6,000
Range: 19 miles
Status: Standing and Active

Historical Information: 

An appropriation request was made to Congress in 1925 for a light to mark Cedar Point – the entrance to the Patuxent River. After surveys of the area were made, it was recommended that the light should be built at Cove Point, four miles further north, and used in conjunction with a light vessel at Cedar Point. This would allow it to guide both north and south-bound vessels while also marking the river. In February of 1828 Congress appropriated $6,000. The four and a half acres at Cove Point were purchased for $300 and John Donahoo was awarded the construction contract. Work began on the brick tower and keepers dwelling that summer. Like other Donahoo lights, Cove point is a conical tower. It has three small windows and is surmounted by a cast iron, circular lantern. The tower contains a wooden spiral staircase fitted into the brick. It also incorporates a counterweight shaft that runs from the lantern to the ground. The light which consisted of 11 parabolic reflector lamps, was first exhibited in December 1828.

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