Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Rescues by Ferry Crew

In the past two years, crew members of the North Carolina Ferry System have been involved in four rescues of mariners in coastal waters. On September 26, 2013, the crew of the Motor Vessel Cedar Island rescued two sailors in rough seas near Ocracoke. On March 29 and July 4 of 2015, North Carolina ferry crews came to the aid of several men whose sailboats had overturned in the Neuse River.

On August 29, 2015, the crew of the Motor Vessel Silver Lake rescued a father and son in Swan Quarter Bay. On Tuesday of last week (March 3, 2016) the crew was honored by the United States Coast Guard for their life-saving actions. Below is the press release from the NC Ferry Division.

Raleigh - The crew of the NCDOT Ferry M/V Silver Lake was honored today with a Meritorious Public Service Award from the United States Coast Guard for the crew’s actions in rescuing a father and son whose boat had overturned in Swan Quarter Bay. “The bravery and acts of heroism are a testament to the professionalism and caliber of the Motor Vessel Silver Lake crew," said Coast Guard Acting Sector Commander Benjamin Cooper. “The father and son are alive today as a direct result.” The incident occurred Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015, as the Silver Lake’s was on its 9:30 a.m. run between Ocracoke and Swan Quarter. As the ferry approached Swan Quarter, Captain Mark Piner noticed an overturned boat in the water with two people clinging to it. Piner immediately ordered the crew to launch the ferry’s rescue boat, and crew members Daniel Smith and Simon Robinette piloted it to the capsized vessel and pulled George and Justin Peele out of the water and into the rescue boat. After determining that both men were unharmed, the crew brought the father and son onboard the M/V Silver Lake and the ferry completed its run to Swan Quarter.

Upon reaching the ferry terminal, crew member Robinette returned both men to their vehicle at a nearby boat ramp. “We are incredibly proud of the Silver Lake crew for its life-saving actions last August,” said Ferry Division Director Ed Goodwin. “All of our crews are trained extensively in responding to emergencies on the water, and it’s good to know how much that training pays off.” Receiving the award today were Captain Piner and Crew Members Smith and Robinette, as well as Chief Engineers Gerry Gillikin and David P. Styron and Crew Member Randy K. Willis.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of Beatrice Wells, child evangelist, who preached at Ocracoke in the late 1930s/early 1940s. You can read it here:


  1. Anonymous9:20 AM

    If this were a teachable the Coast Guard would have shared what events led up to the boat capsizing. Rough seas, lack of experience on the part of the rescued sailors, I am curious what makes a vessel seaworthy one minute then the next not so much? How far is the boat ramp from the ferry terminal? I suppose the rescued, if they sent a letter of thanks to the crew of the Silver Lake there would be no press conference or published photograph.

    1. I am not familiar enough with Swan Quarter to know what boat ramp they are referring to. And I don't know what caused the sailboat to capsize. Maybe someone else does.

  2. I've always admired the ferry crews. Very professional, very cordial and regardless of what the weather is like and how many "loonies", if you smile, they smile back.

  3. Anonymous8:19 AM

    Service above self. In this culture of Hero worship the mere quiet self satisfaction with a job well done does not TRUMP public recognition. If one dedicates oneself to PUBLIC service it can be a "thankless" job, other than the fact a paycheck, insurance and pension is involved. Now Volunteer firefighters and the short wave radio operators have a passion without monetary rewards merely knowing they are the grease in the wheel of adversity has its rewards.