Though most days on Smith Mountain Lake are calm and full of fun and adventure, the unexpected can happen. Should your adventure of the day become a little more stormy than you expected, it’s good to know that there are folks on hand to help and who are prepared for any emergency. The Smith Mountain Lake Marine Volunteer Fire/Rescue Company is a non-profit organization that has been instrumental in helping many people on the lake. Anne Mohaupt of the Smith Mountain Eagle tells the most current tale of their heroism.
Dennis Mallen and the family of Gaithersburg, MD. had checked into Bernard’s Landing for the Memorial Day weekend. Dennis and his son, who had just graduated from college, were cruising around the lake in their 1977 jet boat when a pipe cracked and the boat began to take on water. They unsuccessfully tried to flag down a passing boater, so they headed for the Woodland’s courtesy dock at Bernard’s Landing.
Fortunately, the Mallens were able to get out of the boat unharmed and tie it to the courtesy dock. They, along with a gathering crowd of bystanders, watched helplessly as the boat sank.
Bernard’s resident, John Mohaupt, called 911, and in record time three boats and an “army” of volunteers from the Smith Mountain Lake Marine Volunteer Fire/Rescue Company appeared.
Three divers went down and attached a flotation collar to the boat. They filled the collar with air and the submerged boat soon rose to the surface. While the crowd applauded, the volunteers pumped the water out in a huge spray, while the HazMat Environmental Services people, who arrived by land, surrounded the water with absorbent booms to absorb any oil spill.
The Bernard’s Landing homeowners were extremely impressed with the speed and professionalism of these volunteers. Knowing that there are six boats on the Lake each weekend, manned by these highly trained individuals, gives us a much greater feeling of confidence when we go out on the Lake.
If you would like to contribute to this non-profit organization, send checks to SMLVF/RC, 400 Scruggs Road, Moneta, VA 24121.