Authorities and Good Samaritans scrambled on July 31 to corral Crazy Girl and five other boats evicted from a marina on Gingerville Creek after the owner tried unsuccessfully to raft them up and tow them down the South River.
Three boats were corralled and towed toward Annapolis. Authorities tied four remaining vessels to a Cape St. John resident’s pier with a thunderstorm looming.
A short time later, the unidentified boater who helped tow the little flotilla toward Annapolis called for Coast Guard assistance off Tolley Point, where his boat was running low on gas and he had suffered an injury after a line wrapped around his foot.
Two boats were anchored off Bay Ridge, a neighborhood with a famous view of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.
“It was a little strange having them there because it’s a pretty busy waterway," Allan said.
No lights illuminated the vacant vessels at night, a hazard considering the speed of boats that come around the point. An anchored boat at night without lights can cause accidents for other boaters, he said.
One boat was towed away, though nobody seems to know by whom.
That left Crazy Girl. By Tuesday morning all but the top of the cabin was submerged and a task force of vessels from the Department of Natural Resources headed out to recover it.
Once it was under water, the boat was considered abandoned. That made it both a hazard to navigation and an environmental hazard because of leaking fuel, Scarborough said.
Police divers and a crew from the DNR Hydrographics Unit worked to recover the boat, Scarborough said.
"Generally divers attach lift bags to the vessel that are then filled with air. As the vessel is raised, water is pumped out,” she said.
Once it was floated, police towed the vessel to its Matapeake Facility on Kent Island as evidence related to an ongoing investigation into the vagabond boats, their owner and irregularities involving short term rentals. Scarborough had no update on the investigation.
Salley Wood, a Bay Ridge resident who took photos of the boat and the recovery, wondered why it took so long. She’s worried about how much fuel leaked from the boat.
“It’s devastating,” she said. “I”m out in those waters nearly every weekend with my kids tubing in the same spot.”
Wood said neighbors alerted DNR and the Coast Guard that the boat was listing starboard side several days last week.
“I know my husband put in at least two calls himself,” she said.
Crazy Girl went under at 2 p.m. Sunday, Allan said.
“I don’t know how much fuel this boat carried, but my boat of similar size can hold up to 200 gallons,” and the engine can hold 5-8 gallons of oil, Allan said. “They all begin to leak out.”
Maryland law is very precise when it comes to abandoned boats, Scarborough explained.
“In relation to the way abandoned boat laws are written, I would say this was a quick resolution,” she said.