Timely Intervention Results In Two Boat Rescues

Timely Intervention Results In Two Boat Rescues

OCEAN CITY — Stormy conditions, rough seas and a variety of other factors kept federal, state and private agencies busy last week with two boat rescues in the span of about three days last weekend.

Last Thursday, multiple private and public sector agencies responded to a large catamaran sailboat in distress near the Inlet during a storm. According to Tow Boat U.S., the call was received over the radio that a 45-foot ocean-going catamaran was in distress and was in danger of colliding with the rocks along the jetty in the Inlet.

“We heard the distress call on the radio and the NRP [Maryland Natural Resources Police] called us to assist,” said Tow Boat U.S. captain Greg Hall. “It was a 45-foot ocean-going cat, just a huge sailboat. We launched our Zodiac, which is not our biggest vessel but certainly our fastest, and we were able to grab ahold of her just before she ran into the rocks at the Inlet.”

Coast Guard crews from Station Ocean City responded to assist, as did the NRP. Hall said the Tow Boat U.S. vessel was able to provide some initial assistance, but could not immediately remedy the situation.

“It was very, very rough,” he said. “We were able to get a hold of her, but the sea was so powerful, it took everything we had just to hold her in place and prevent her from colliding with the rocks. By then, the Coast Guard arrived with its larger rescue boat and was able to tow it in. It was pretty dicey there for a few minutes, but thank God the Coast Guard showed up when they did.”

Hall said the 45-footer was an old-fashioned wooden-hulled sailboat with just a single occupant aboard.

“We couldn’t believe how heavy it was,” he said. “It was manned by an older man all by himself. He was passing through the area on his way somewhere south of here and it was all we could do to prevent him from smashing into the jetty. He was towed in and spent the next few days in the harbor.”

On Saturday, a Coast Guard boat crew from Station Ocean City assisted four boaters after their vessel became disabled about 50 miles off the resort coast. A crewmember aboard the 25-foot vessel contacted the Coast Guard via VHF marine radio channel 16, alerting the agency the boat was disabled and they were in need of assistance.

Around 2:30 a.m., watch standers at Coast Guard Sector Baltimore alerted Station Ocean City and a 47-foot motor lifeboat was launched to respond to the distress call. The Station Ocean City crew arrived on the scene 50 miles offshore roughly two hours later around 4:30 a.m. The Coast Guard motor lifeboat took the four boaters aboard and initiated a tow. The vessel was towed into the commercial harbor in West Ocean City around 10 a.m.

“It was a long evolution,” said Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Brandon Scott, who was aboard the motor lifeboat. “Because the crew of the disabled vessel was prepared and had a marine-band radio aboard to contact the Coast Guard directly, we were able to respond and had no issues finding them.”