The sailboat was hit with severe weather near the mouth of the Bay. Photo: Chief Petty Officer Seth Johnson U.S. Coast Guard District 5

Sailor Rescued in Rough Conditions at Mouth of Bay

The Coast Guard rescued a man suffering from hypothermia on his disabled sailboat—a reminder to all boaters how early spring boating can turn dangerous quickly.

The 57-year-old man’s sailboat was inoperable after hitting severe weather last Friday, about three miles southwest of Wolf Trap Light off Virginia’s Middle Peninsula. The man’s sister made a distress call and Coast Guard Sector Virginia responded around 9:30 a.m.

USCG says its 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew launched from Station Cape Charles and had to navigate five to six foot seas to reach the stranded boater. Winds were 25 to 30 knots inside the Bay.

When the crew arrived, the man was suffering mild hypothermia symptoms. They rescued him from the disabled vessel and brought him to shore where York County EMS treated him.

“Today’s case is an example of what can happen in severe weather, but my crew and I were happy to get the mariner to safety,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Andrew Manzoline, the coxswain of the response boat that conducted the rescue. “It’s important for people to check the weather before going out and to have the proper safety equipment like life jackets and marine radios and to properly dress for cold water temperatures.

Emergency responders remind boaters to always prepare for extreme conditions, especially early in the season, when air temperatures feel pleasant but water is still dangerously cold.

-Meg Walburn Viviano