A powerboat nearly sinks near the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel with four boaters—including a child—on board Sunday afternoon.
All four people and the boat made it back to shore, thanks to proper use of VHF radio, police and Coast Guard responders and the help of fellow boaters.
The Coast Guard says the call came into Sector Virginia around 12:40 p.m. Sunday. A 22-foot white walkaround powerboat was disabled and taking on water. The boat was in the area of Thimble Shoal South Island (also known as First Island) and was drifting towards the bridge.
Good Samaritans on other boats were in contact with the sinking vessel. When the Coast Guard command center lost communication with the victims, one of the good Samaritan vessels was able to give crews the exact location. Another helpful boat pulled the drifting, sinking boat away from the rocks.
A Coast Guard 45-foot Response Boat-Medium made it to the scene and found two feet of water on deck. The crew helped the four boaters off their sinking vessel and safely onto the Coast Guard boat.
They pumped water from the boat to keep it afloat and brought it in a side tow towards Lynnhaven. The Coast Guard Cutter Angela McShan, which happened to be in the area, provided backup.
Two station crew members then began dewatering efforts and brought the vessel in a side tow towards Lynnhaven. From there, the Virginia Beach Fire Department towed it to a boat ramp.
The Virginia Beach Police transported the rescued boaters to Lynnhaven Boat Ramp with no reported injuries.
The Coast Guard says this story ended as well as it did because of good communication.
“We heard the original callout from the vessel asking for help and immediately began preparations to launch,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Kyle Cassidy. “This case was successful because the mariners were prepared with a VHF radio, and both the station and multiple good Samaritans quickly responded.”
There used to be a very good "bite" of very large Striped Bass around the CBBT in the winter months. Pete used to go down and camp out there while taking trips, but he quit that after a couple of bad years. I wonder if that bite is back.
Kudos to the USCG and the other boaters who stood by and helped. This reminds me that I should trade in the AM/FM radio that my boat came equipped with, and that I never use, for good VHF.