Boater Located After Mysterious Runaway Boat Hits Dock

Boater Located After Mysterious Runaway Boat Hits Dock

OCEAN PINES — While Ocean City police continued to investigate an unidentified male found deceased in the ocean on Tuesday afternoon, a potentially tragic situation unfolding earlier in the day in Ocean Pines when an unattended boat with its motor running crashed into a residential pier had a happy ending.

Around noon on Tuesday, an inflatable boat with a small outboard motor crashed into a pier at a residence on Leigh Drive in Ocean Pines. Mysteriously, no one was on board the vessel and there were no other signs of distress in the vicinity. According to Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP), no other identifiable information was found to help police track the owner or operator and an extensive search was initiated.

“The call came in around noon,” said NRP spokesperson Candus Thomson. “We had NRP and Coast Guard boats and helicopters involved in the search.”

The NRP issued a release on the strange boat that crashed into a pier in Ocean Pines unattended and with its motor running and the word spread about the mysterious situation. Thomson said the boat’s owner saw social media posts and called in to the NRP around 4 p.m. to say he was fine. The boat’s owner told police he did not know how the boat got started, untied itself and motored away from his dock. He also told police he did not know of anyone having permission to use the boat.

Thomson said the search was complicated by the fact the inflatable vessel did not have any identifying markings on it. To that end, the NRP this week is urging owners of inflatable boats, kayaks, canoes or any other vessel including SUP boards to place their names and contact numbers on the vessels. The NRP offers free stickers for that very purpose.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.