OCEAN CITY — Potential tragedy was averted last weekend after two vessels capsized and sank at roughly the same location in the open ocean two days apart, but in both incidents, Good Samaritans on other vessels quickly arrived and rescued the boats’ occupants.
On Saturday, a 23-foot catamaran capsized in the ocean about 25-30 miles southeast of the Ocean City Inlet. A Good Samaritan vessel responded to the capsized vessel and safely removed its occupants. However, the sailboat did not sink and remained floating in the ocean in roughly the same location as of Monday. By late Monday evening, salvage crews from Tow Boat U.S. had recovered the catamaran and towed it into the commercial harbor in West Ocean City.
On Sunday, another vessel, this time a 23-foot Grady White capsized at roughly the same site in an area referred to, ironically, as the Twin Wrecks. Again, a Good Samaritan vessel responded and took the unidentified occupants to safety. The Grady White was still bobbing with its hull side up on Monday.
At different times during the week, the vessel sank and resurfaced and had drifted to the south in an area known as the Winter Quarter Shoal off the coast of Chincoteague. According to a Coast Guard official at Station Ocean City, the 23-foot Grady White had sank for good and there were no plans to recover it.
The Coast Guard official said the vessel had sunk in an area deep enough that it would not be a threat or risk to navigation. The Coast Guard is not required to recover sunken vessels and it is up to the boat’s owner whether or not to attempt to salvage. Coast Guard officials reported this week the boat owner said the vessel was completely insured and he was willing to just let it sink harmlessly to the bottom.
According to a reliable source, both vessels appeared to be in good condition and there were no obvious signs of damage or distress. On both occasions, the vessels capsized in good weather and on smooth seas. Fortunately for the occupants, the incidents occurred during a busy time of day out on the ocean in the middle of July and also during the middle of the Ocean City Tuna Tournament.