STEVENSVILLE — When a boater fell unconscious into the water Sunday, Sept. 6, at Kentmorr Marina, Eagle Scout Brice O’Malley of Queen Anne Colony sprang into action, calling on his Scout-learned emergency preparedness and First Aid skills to save a life.
O’Malley, a member of BSA Troop 1631, works at the marina. He said the emergency occurred around 9:30 a.m., shortly after he started work for the day. O’Malley was doing a trash run when he heard a woman screaming for help.
The boater had slipped while cleaning the deck of his boat, falling and hitting his head, knocking himself unconscious and falling into the water. His foot became tangled in a rope and he was dangling, upside down with his head under water, O’Malley said.
Jerri Fleetwood leaving her boat at a nearby slip saw the man stuck under the boat, upside down in the water, and called for help.
“When Brice was alerted of this situation his Eagle Scout instincts took over, and he immediately sprang into action, racing to the scene and jumping into the water, untangling the stricken boater whose body was intertwined in dock lines,” said Assistant Scout Master Wes Ridgley.
Fleetwood and another boater, Eileen Cullen, were just able to get the man's head out of the water.
O’Malley jumped onto the swim ladder and got the man to the surface, helping to keep his head above water. His boss Alex Sweitzer and another slip holder ran over and helped him get the man out of the water, O’Malley said.
The man had been under water for several minutes, his skin was gray, and he wasn’t breathing, O’Malley said.
O’Malley’s Scout training came into play again as he proceeded with effective rescue techniques to clear the man’s airway, Ridgley said.
O’Malley said he used his knuckles to press on the man’s chest and expel the water. As the water was being pushed out, the man regained consciousness and “began puking water,” O’Malley said.
O’Malley continued to provide care, trying to keep the man stabilized, until emergency medical services personnel arrived.
The man was disoriented. He couldn’t recall his name and didn’t know where he was, but he was conscious, breathing and talking when he was taken by ambulance to a local hospital.
“Brice assisted in all aspects of the rescue and is to be lauded for his heroic actions,” Ridgley said. “His actions show the true measure of Brice’s character as an Eagle Scout and bring great credit upon the members of Scouts BSA, Troop 1631 and the rank of Eagle Scout!”
Ridgely said he was exceedingly proud of O’Malley’s response in this crisis to holding up the high ideals of being an Eagle Scout.
O’Malley remained calm throughout the emergency. He said, as a Scout, he trained to be calm in situations like that, plus he’s a “laid-back guy.”
“I’m just glad I was there at the right time,” O’Malley said.
The marina received an update from the hospital Tuesday morning saying the man was in the intensive care unit.
O’Malley’s parents, Carolyn and David, also said they were proud of him and the skills he learned as a Scout. Scouting is a family tradition. O’Malley’s younger brother Chase, 16, is pursuing his Eagle Scout Award. A Life Scout with Troop 1631, he is a junior at Severn School.
Chase has chosen a unique clean the Bay effort for his Eagle project. He is working with SeaBin Project to install two trash skimming devices at Kentmorr to clean the water. He needs to raise $12,000 to complete the project and currently has a GoFundMe donation page; search: Eagle Scout Project to Clean the Bay. Look for more on this project later.