On the upper Bay this past weekend, two speedboats struck channel markers on two different rivers after dark, injuring a total of seven people.
The two accidents happened in the Elk River and the Sassafras just two nights apart. In the first, Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) say a powerboat was going 30 knots when it struck a red-lighted buoy in a channel of the Elk River around 10:30 Friday night. The left side of the boat was damaged and it started taking on water. The operator, 37-year-old Eric Madison from Wilmington, Delaware, was able to steer and beach the boat at Town Point, NRP says.
Two passengers on board were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Madison now faces charges of negligent operation, failing to maintain a proper lookout, and operating a vessel at an unsafe speed for the conditions.
Then on Sunday night in the Sassafras, a 24-foot ski boat struck a day marker at a high rate of speed, NRP tells Bay Bulletin. It happened around 8:40 p.m. in the area of Skipjack Landing. One of the six people on board was thrown overboard by the collision, but NRP says a good Samaritan helped her back onto the boat. Five of the six people on the boat suffered minor injuries and were taken to the hospital. Police continue to investigate that incident.
On the heels of these collisions, NRP reminds boaters to stay alert, understand weather conditions, maintain situational awareness, and always wear your life jacket.
-Meg Walburn Viviano