Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Volunteer Rescue Swimmer Saves Upper Bay Boater

Chesapeake Bay Mag, Volunteer Rescue Swimmer Saves Boaters on Rocks at Hart-Miller Island

Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) say on Saturday, park rangers at Hart-Miller reported a 17-foot boat taking on water with one male and one female passenger on board.

NRP officers arrived to find the female boater still on the sinking boat and rescued her. The male boater was stranded on the rocks. Marine Emergency Team 21 (MET21), a local marine rescue team with trained rescue swimmers, responded to the scene along with the nearby Marine Emergency Team 26 (MET26).

MET21 deployed a rescue swimmer with an inflatable sled. According to MET26, it was determined the male victim suffered injuries that left him unable to walk. The MET21 rescue swimmer brought the boater back to the rescue boat, which took him to shore where an EMS crew and ambulance were waiting.

Once the two patients were taken care of, Baltimore County Police Marine Unit responded with a dewatering pump to remove some two feet of water from the boat. NRP towed the vessel back to shore.

NRP isn’t releasing any information about what caused the 17-foot boat to take on water as the incident is still under investigation. But police do say, “The conditions [on the water] were not favorable for the size of the vessel.”

Kudos to the MET teams for this rescue.

Hart-Miller Island is one of the disappearing islands in the bay which was largely rebuilt using sediments from Baltimore Harbor. The  these islands  are mostly edged with riprap on the exposed side to prevent erosion, making them extremely unfriendly to boats. Not to mention the rock piles either accidentally or deliberately place in the water, which, while great fishing structure, can be hazardous to hulls and props. In future island restorations, such as the planned restorations of James and Barren Islands, I would hope they could find a way to restore more natural shorelines.

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