Trouble on the Potomac River and Chesapeake?

Smith Point Sea Rescue is a 100% volunteer effort to save lives on the lower Bay and Potomac and does not take any government funds.

Smith Point Sea Rescue responded to a variety of calls for assistance during July.

This report not only gives examples of the services we provide but also illustrates some things NOT to do when on the water.


Smith Point Sea Rescue can be reached 24/7 by calling on channel 16 or by calling 911. Rescue I and Rescue II are based on the Great Wicomico River and Rescue III is based on the Coan River. Two missions were unique enough to justify their own headlines.
“ A Community Effort”
On July 24th a sailboat went hard aground during a falling tide off of Walnut Point at the Coan River entrance. Rescue III responded. It was a community effort to free the boat. With Rescue111 towing the sailboat from its stern, a large Sea Ray hauling on the halyard from top of main mast to heel the boat over, and a third boat assisting by creating a large wake to help bounce the grounded boat loose. The effort created quite a spectacle for passing boats and was successful. “A Needle in a Haystack”

July 27th at 10:30PM with 3 to 4 foot seas a call was received from U.S. Coast Guard Baltimore that a 20’ boat with 2 aboard were long overdue.

When last seen the boat left a dock on the Potomac just north of the Little Wicomico jetty and was headed toward the Target Ship north of Smith Island. At 1:30 AM the crew spotted a small return on the radar and a faint red light in the distance where there were no navigational markers. After a 2 mile run the missing boat was found.
The Coast Guard was notified and they ordered a helicopter, which was enroute to assist in the search, back to base.
The 2 men onboard did not have a cell phone, a marine radio, a flashlight, a white 360 degree light and other essential safety equipment. They did have flares, which would have made finding them much easier, but without a flashlight they did not know how to light them off.
The boaters were given 5 gallons of gas and they headed home. The crew returned to the boathouse at 3 AM.

July 15th Rescue I responded to a 27’ Wellcraft 1 mile off of Owens

Pond with 3 aboard. They had a dead battery and It was towed to Buzzards Point Marina.

July 16th a 43’ motor yacht on Blackwell Creek lost reverse when attempting to dock. Rescue I stood by and the owner succeeded in reconnecting the shift cable and was able to dock himself.

July 18th at 9:30 PM the Coast Guard requested Rescue III assist a disabled vessel but shortly after getting underway they were told to return as the vessel had been assisted.

July 21 Rescue I towed a boat from the Little Wicomico River to Tiffany Yachts.

July 24th a 32’ Bertran lost power at red #10 on the Great Wicomico River. Attempts to restart the engines failed and the boat was towed to the owners dock at the head of Mill Creek.

July 29th at 12:30PM a mayday call was received indicating a 19’ Mako with 2 aboard was sinking 2 miles north of the Great Wicomico Light in the Bay.
The Virginia Marine Police were first to arrive on the scene and notified Coast Guard Hampton Roads that Sea Rescue was enroute. They attached a bouy in case the boat did sink. With the transom below the surface it was decided to tow the boat at 8 knots so the water would drain out of the scuppers and the hole in the transom where a drain plug should have been inserted before the boat was launched.
The boat was towed to Shell Landing. Smith Point Sea Rescue is a totally volunteer rescue unit which serves boaters from Ragged Point to the mouth of the Potomac River, south to the Rappahannock River and across to the eastern shore. Smith Point Sea Rescue can be reached 24/7 by calling on channel 16 or by calling 911. The organization receives no governmental monetary support and depends solely on the proceeds of Annual Reedville Fishing Derby and donations to fund their operation for the year.

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