By Cindy Hoffman, Staff Writer
(March 30, 2023) The crew of the Ocean City headboat Ocean Princess, Capt. Victor Bunting of Berlin and mates Jeff Nottingham and Matthew Moran of West Ocean City, were honored Monday night by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources for helping to rescue a group of personal watercraft operators on Aug. 30 last year.
“We were coming back into the Ocean City Inlet from a day of fishing. The inlet just happened to be rough that day. The tide was going out, and an east wind was blowing, causing the seas to stand up more than they normally would.” Bunting said.
“Two Jet Skis with three people each on them got into a rough patch of water. The tide was coming out and one Jet Ski flipped over. One person got back on the Jet Ski, but the other two could not.
“I was watching them and tried to give them a second to get back on … I immediately told my crew to stand by,” said Bunting.
“We got our man overboard ladder and life rings and we were ready to assist,” Jeff Nottingham said.
“We are a Coast Guard-certified vessel. I called the Coast Guard on the radio and told them of the situation,” Bunting said.
“Luckily, one of the MD DNR boats heard me call for assistance. As I pulled up to the victims in the water, DNR pulled up at the same time.”
Bunting blocked boat traffic with his boat while DNR performed the rescue.
“The inlet was rough that day and DNR was having problems getting them out of the water. The Jet Ski ended up sinking, but everyone made it out OK,” Bunting said.
“It’s fairly unusual for us to have to help on the water. But we are always willing to help when we can,” Nottingham said.
Bunting, Nottingham and Moran received a Superintendent’s Letter of Appreciation signed by Acting Lt. Col. Kelley Johnson. The letter states, “The Natural Resources Police commends their actions and is thankful for their keen observation and quick action. Without their help, the incident could have easily turned tragic.”