Overdue Vessel/Water Rescue
Tuesday, July 28, 2020
At 9:21pm on Tuesday, July 28, 2020, the Ocean Pines Vol. Fire Department was alerted for an overdue vessel/water rescue. Per the reporting party, three individuals had gone out on the water (without their cell phones) in one kayak and one 2-person mini-fishing boat and were due back two hours prior. Additionally, after the vessels did not return, a fourth individual set out in another kayak attempting to locate the missing vessels. First Assistant Chief Widgeon established command and began coordinating this multi-department operation.
Engines 1101 & 1102, Utility 1180, Special Ops 11 as well as Ocean Pines Rescue Boat 11, Ocean City Fire Boat 1, and Maryland Natural Resource Police immediately began a systematic search of the canals and open water in and around the Ocean Pines area, extending north to the Isle of White Nature Park and the Rt 90 Bridge heading into Ocean City.
The vessel and occupant that had launched in search of the overdue boaters was located on shore at the base of Rt 90 prior to crossing the St. Martin Neck River and the other two missing vessels were spotted in the St Martin River and were guided to shore by emergency personnel on shore and in boats. Upon making contact with the missing vessels, it was learned that the 2-person fishing boat's motor had died and was being towed back to shore by the kayak. Once all occupants were out of the water and their vessels secured, the scene was turned over to the Department of Natural Resources Police for further investigation.
Thankfully, everyone involved was wearing life jackets and were familiar with the waterways. As a reminder, always plan to return to shore with ample time before dusk whenever you are in a vessel without proper lighting. Also, be sure to check current and future weather conditions. Additionally, whenever possible, never leave shore without a cell phone or some other type of portable two way radio that can be used in case of emergencies.