Thursday, December 31, 2015

Boaters Survive Capsizing in Cold Potomac

Survivors From Capsized Vessel Incident Reunite with Rescuers
Two survivors of a Dec. 20 capsized vessel incident were reunited with their rescuers Wednesday at Coast Guard Station Annapolis.

Brad Stemcosky and Charlie Frend met with responders from the Coast Guard, Maryland State Police, Maryland Natural Resources Police and Saint Mary’s County.

Stemcosky and Frend, both of whom are experienced boaters, got caught in inclement weather, resulting in their boat taking on water and capsizing.

The two men spent approximately 75 minutes in the 50-degree waters of the Potomac River. They were wearing their life jackets when their boat capsized. Stemcosky had a handheld radio, which he used to call mayday.
Damn, that's a long time in 50 degree water. 

Watchstanders from Coast Guard Sector Baltimore‘s command center received the initial mayday calls and they dispatched a Maryland State Police aviation unit, a boat crew from Coast Guard Station St. Inigoes and a boat crew from the St. Mary’s County 2nd District Volunteer Fire Department Rescue Squad.

The Coast Guard watchstanders vectored in the Maryland State Police helicopter crew, who located the survivors, and they directed the boat crew from St. Mary’s County Fire Department on scene to rescue the men.

“It was an outstanding job by all agencies involved,” said Cmdr. Michael Keane, the chief of response for Sector Baltimore. “Brad and Charlie are good, prudent mariners and their efforts in ensuring they had the right safety gear, wearing their life jackets and having a handheld VHF radio was critical in ensuring we had the ability to coordinate all these resources to go and save them in a timely manner. I’m very pleased — this was an outstanding response and I’m happy to be a part of it.”
A while back I reported that we seemed to be headed towards a record number of  boating fatalities in Maryland this year. While I haven't heard of any new ones since then, we've probably gone well over the mark by now. It's good to see the rescue folks win one. Now, maybe I should buy that hand held radio.

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