A busy stretch of the C&D Canal was shut down to vessel traffic on Sunday and Monday after a speedboat was overcome by a wave, broke into pieces sank. In the overnight hours Tuesday morning, towboat operators hauled up multiple pieces of wreckage from the boat.
It happened Sunday just before noon near Schaefer’s Canal House in Chesapeake City, Maryland. Natural Resources Police (NRP) tell us the 26-foot Baja go-fast boat took on a large wave, which quickly sank the vessel.
“The exact cause is still under investigation but preliminary findings indicate sea state was the cause,” NRP Sergeant Ken Layman says.
The area of the canal around Schaefer’s Canal House is a no-wake zone, but was busy on Sunday, a warm and sunny first day of October.
Thankfully, both people on board the boat survived and were rescued by good samaritans on the water. They were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
The Coast Guard issued a Hazard to Navigation notice closing the C&D Canal to all traffic due to the submerged pleasure craft in the center of the channel, “sitting on the bottom with the bow sticking up to about 13 feet.” They marked the wreckage as an isolated danger. Around 3 a.m. Tuesday, Towboat US Chesapeake City went out to the scene to remove the wreckage.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and a Northstar Marine salvage crew worked alongside Towboat US through the night to remove the wrecked boat.
“Due to the complexity of the situation, we had to bring in a barge and crane to pick the vessel up. Unfortunately it was severely damaged due to the impact and environment. It was removed in two pieces,” the towboat company shared on Facebook.
The wreckage was removed Tuesday morning and the Coast Guard’s closure of the canal was expected to be canceled once fog in the area lifted.
Police continue to investigate the sinking.
-Meg Walburn Viviano