Maryland State Police Trooper 7 searched for the missing boater and found him stuck in the marsh. He was later airlifted to safety. MSP photo.

Missing Boater Found Stranded in Dorchester Marsh, Airlifted to Safety

A boater stranded in the marshes of Dorchester County, Maryland had to be airlifted by a state police helicopter in the middle of the night late last week.

Dorchester County Fire and EMS launched a search for the 22-year-old man and his boat, with the search going well into the night on Oct. 12. Just after midnight, county rescue crews had exhausted their search efforts and called upon Maryland State Police Aviation to help.

State Police Trooper 7, a helicopter based at St. Mary’s Airport in California, Maryland, responded to search for the boater. They found him a short time later, having run aground in a marshy area in his boat.

The marshy conditions made him inaccessible to rescue crews by foot or by boat. By 1:20 a.m., a second Maryland State Police helicopter was dispatched to hoist him out of the marsh. Trooper 2 arrived from Joint Base St. Andrews, hovering 50 feet above the marsh while a trooper/paramedic was lowered down to the stranded boater. Using an airlift recsue vest, the man was hoisted together with the trooper/paramedic back into the helicopter.

Dorchester County EMS met Trooper 2 at a landing zone where paramedics could check the victim out. State police say he didn’t need any treatment or transport to the hospital.

Maryland State Police Aviation Command includes 10 helicopters based at seven locations throughout Maryland. Aviation Command says the success of missions like this one rely heavily on cooperative efforts of local fire, rescue and EMS agencies.

In general, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) encourages all boaters to file a float plan when you go out. You can do this by leaving this form with a reliable person who would notify the Coast Guard or other rescuers if you don’t return when planned. Or, a float plan could be as simple as telling someone where you are going, who will be with you and when you plan to return.

-Meg Walburn Viviano