Coast Guard crews rescue boater, dogs near Little Wicomico River

5th Coast Guard District News
ALTIMORE — Coast Guard crews rescued a man and three dogs Tuesday after the 59-foot sailboat he was aboard ran aground in the vicinity of Smith Point near the Little Wicomico River.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Baltimore received a mayday call at 11:30 p.m. Monday from the boater over VHF-FM channel 16 reporting he had run soft aground approximately 300 yards from the shore and was taking on water.

After spotting flares, an aircrew aboard a Maryland State Police helicopter located the man aboard his boat at 1 a.m. Tuesday but did not have hoist capabilities. A Coast Guard aircrew aboard an HH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City, N.J., arrived on scene and lowered a rescue swimmer to assist the crew aboard a 25-foot Response Boat – Small from Coast Guard Station St. Inigoes, Md.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Kevin Ramirez, the coxswain aboard the RB-S, was able to maneuver the RB-S against the grounded vessel to have the man and his dogs transfer aboard.

“As the conditions worsened and the vessel strightened in line with the seas, we took action knowing that was the best chance to get the master and his dogs transferred safely,” said Ramirez. “Operating at near limitations especially that close to shoal was certainly one of the most challenging situations I have experienced on a 24-foot RB-S.”

The RB-S crew took the man and dogs to Smith Point Marina where he was offered medical services, but refused.

“The man did an excellent job maintaining communications and providing situational updates,” said Lt. Salomee Briggs, the command duty officer at Sector Baltimore. “He used flares to signal the Maryland State Police helicopter, which allowed us to narrow in on his position and expedite the search and rescue case.”

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