The Beaufort Water Search and Rescue team has been busy so far this year with calls from Beaufort area boaters. Two recent incidents required special attention from the volunteer team.
On Sunday, June 12, Beaufort Water Search and Rescue received a call from a Beaufort County 911 operator stating, “a boater was drifting, out of gas, and had no idea where he was.”
The boater had a cell phone, but limited signal. He left Pigeon Point boat landing, following a friend in their boat out to Morgan Island in St. Helena sound. They departed the island, and he stayed a little longer. He went out the little creek coming from the north side of Morgan Island into the Coosaw River and did not know which way to go. He then ran out of gas. He drifted several hours before calling 911, as he was hoping to see another boat.
BWSAR launched two boats immediately, one captained by Henry Robertson and the other captained by Scott Jennings. They started the search in the Beaufort River near MCAS and expanded the search outward from Beaufort. Once they entered the Coosaw River, BWSAR launched three other boats, captained by Nick Russel, Casey O’Connell and John Sutcliff and joined by crew members Troy Davenport and Danny Williams.
Five boats searched the Beaufort River, Whale Branch River, McCalleys Creek, Morgan River, Parrotts Creek, Bull River, St. Helena Sound, Otter Island, the Intracoastal Waterway up to Ashapoo River and the Combahee River, where he was found.
BWSAR put gasoline in his boat and instructed him to follow one of the squad boats back the Pigeon Point boat landing.
The search incurred 52 man hours.
On Saturday, June 18 Beaufort Water Search and Rescue received a call from a Beaufort County 911 operator stating, “a shrimp boat was taking on water, and the engine had died with 5 people on board.” BWSAR launched one 24’ boat captained by John Sutcliff with crew member, Chris Haley. The shrimp boat was located near Port Royal Sound. Upon arriving at the scene, they found two boats tied together. The owner of the shrimp boat called a family member to bring a pump who barely made it to the 55’ shrimp boat before their engine died.
BWSAR immediately took them in tow to get them out of shallow water. A commercial tow boat came to the scene and took the small boat in tow, and the BWSAR boat continued the tow of the shrimp boat to Port Royal. BWSAR launched another boat to assist, Captained by Richard Jennings Jr. with crewmembers, Joe Morlino and Cliff Johnson. BWSAR boats towed the 55’ shrimp boat “Bounty” to the Port Royal seafood dock, where BWSAR squad members, Danny Williams and Gail Wrede assisted with the lines.
If you have trouble on the water this summer, the Beaufort Water Search and Rescue Squad can help. Simply call 911, and the dispatcher will connect boaters with members of the squad. And it’s always better to be safe than stranded.