Cherry Branch - As the crew of the North Carolina Ferry M/V Chicamacomico was loading cars for its last departure of the day from Minnesott Beach Saturday afternoon, security watch stander John Brann noticed something amiss on the Neuse River in Pamlico County.
A sailboat had tipped and rolled over just outside of the ferry basin and was rapidly drifting into the river channel.
Brann immediately informed crew members Paul Abare and Stevenson Lee Weeks, who notified Captain Wendell Hunnings of the boater in distress. Hunnings then ordered Abare and Weeks to launch the Chicamacomico's rescue boat.
Upon reaching the boater, Abare and Weeks determined the sailor, Sean Pollin of Linden, Va., did not need medical assistance but did need help in righting his boat. Working together, Pollin, Abare and Weeks pulled the sailboat out of the current and into shallow water where Pollin was able to pull it ashore. Pollin said he had underestimated the winds on the Neuse and was overcome by them.
The rescue was the third of boaters in distress by ferry crews in the past 22 months. On Sept. 26, 2013, the crew of the M/V Cedar Island rescued two sailors in rough seas just off of Ocracoke. On March 29, 2015, the crew of the M/V Thomas A. Baum came to the aid of a New Bern man whose sailboat had also overturned on the Neuse.
"Once again, a ferry crew used its skill and training to help a boater in distress", said Ferry Division Director Ed Goodwin. "Safety has always been our top priority, and our crews are well prepared to deal with emergencies not only on our vessels but elsewhere in the water as well. We are proud of the service our crews provide to all the residents and visitors of eastern North Carolina."
After the rescue boat and crew returned to the ferry, the Chicamacomico completed its scheduled run to Cherry Branch.
A North Carolina ferry crew comes to the aid of a sailor whose boat overturned in the Neuse River on July 4, 2015.