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August 31, 2022

Hero Officer Saves Multiple People Including Baby After Boat Capsizes

Ipswich water patrol officer Matthew Bodwell was on routine patrol when he heard a “mayday” call over the radio. An experienced mariner with duties that included being an assistant harbormaster, Bodwell is being hailed for his quick thinking and actions. This directly led to the rescue of 5 people after their boat capsized in rough seas.

Upon hearing the call for help, Bodwell activated his emergency lights and immediately responded to the area, where he saw a man in the water waving for help. Bodwell pulled a pregnant woman, a 14-month-old girl, two men, and another woman from the water. Bodwell radioed Ipswich dispatch and the U.S. Coast Guard to confirm everyone from the “mayday” message was accounted for before taking everyone to the Ipswich Bay Yacht Club dock, where an ambulance was already waiting.

Ipswich Police Chief Paul Nikas praised Bodwell in a statement, “This remarkable situation could have turned into an unspeakable tragedy had it not been for the immediate actions of Officer Matthew Bodwell. Officer Bodwell is to be commended for his heroic work on the water on Saturday.” 

Ipswich Police Lieutenant Jonathan Hubbard, who is the Ipswich Emergency Management Director, also praised Bodwell. “Fortunately, in this incident, we were able to respond quickly enough with a highly-trained marine patrol officer, and we have a positive outcome when all too often the circumstances on the water, especially in rough seas, do not turn out favorably.”

According to the Boston Herald, none of the boaters wore life jackets. Police Chief Paul Nikas reminded all boaters that the Coast Guard-approved flotation devices are mandatory for all boaters under the age of 12 and recommended for all.

Officer Bodwell’s actions bring great credit to himself and the Ipswich Police Department. Great work, sir!