Two boaters were able to step off this boat just before it was consumed by flames. Photo: Woodland Beach Fire Dept/Facebook

Two Narrowly Escape Boat Engine Fire off Rhode River

Two boaters are safe after their 37-foot powerboat caught fire on the way to the dock Friday morning, leading to an explosion that could be heard for miles around.

Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) says the two males were trying to dock their Monterey boat at Holiday Hill Marina in Whitemarsh Creek, just off the Rhode River in Edgewater. One of the boat’s engines failed. When one tried to restart the engine, the boat caught fire. Luckily, both were close enough to a nearby pier to jump off before the boat became fully engulfed.

Photo courtesy of Anne Arundel County Fire Dept.

The Anne Arundel County, Annapolis City, and Woodland Beach Volunteer fire departments all responded along with NRP and helped put out the fire.

The two boaters were taken to a local trauma center for what NRP calls “precautionary measures” and treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

NRP is investigating the incident and has not yet determined a cause.

Captain John Martino from our sister company, the Annapolis School of Seamanship, tell us that in some cases gasoline vapors can collect in a boat’s bilge while the engine is off, potentially creating an explosion.

In this case, Woodland Beach Volunteer Fire Department reports the explosion could be heard and felt all across the Edgewater area.

Bay Bulletin will continue to follow this story and bring you any updates.

-Meg Walburn Viviano