BERLIN — A local man spent a chilly night on a marshy island in Chincoteague Bay last weekend after his boat capsized and tossed him into the still frigid water.
Around 4 p.m. last Saturday, local waterman Jerry Don Lambertson, 49, of Pocomoke, set out from Taylor Landing on the Chincoteague Bay near Girdletree in a 15-foot skiff rigged for gill-netting. At some point shortly thereafter, the propeller on the skiff got tangled in the gill net and disabled the vessel. As Lambertson struggled to get the propeller untangled, waves crashed over the stern in the choppy bay and capsized the fishing vessel.
According to Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) spokesperson Candace Thompson, Lambertson made his way to a marshy island called Big Bay Marsh for temporary safety. However, his cellphone got wet during the incident and would not work. Having no way to reach out for help, Lambertson covered himself with grasses and a bushel basket and hunkered down for the night on the marshy island.
Around 6:15 a.m. on Sunday, the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office contacted NRP officers to report the overdue fisherman. Meanwhile, members of the Lambertson family went out searching for the victim and found him on the island where he had spent a chilly night. The NRP responded and took Lambertson by boat to an ambulance waiting onshore.
Lamberston was taken to Atlantic General Hospital where he was treated for hypothermia and released. The vessel was recovered and returned to the boat ramp, according to Thompson. The Maryland NRP, the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office, Snow Hill EMS and Girdletree EMS participated in the search and rescue operation.