Oliver W. Bailey, 73, a retired engineer and long a boating enthusiast, died Monday, apparently of a heart attack.

He was stricken while traveling from his home in Silver Spring to the West River Yacht Club at Edgewater, Md., and was pronounced dead at Anne Arundel General Hospital in Annapolis.

Mr. Bailey had been a member of the yatch club for more than 10 years and had served as its commodore last year. He also was a life-member and past commander of the Potomac River Power Squadron. He belonged to a number of other boating organizations.

Born in Washington, Mr. Bailey attended George Washington University. He then worked as a civilian employee of the Army Corps of Engineers at the Washington Aqueduct.

During World War II, be spent nearly three yeears with the Seabeds in the Pacific.

Mr. Bailey returned to the Washington Aqueduct after the war. He retired there about 10 years ago.

He was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

He is survived by his wife, Inez A. of the home two sisters, Marion Lind Say, of St. Petersburg, Fla., and Ethel Jenkins of Maurertown, Va., and two brothers, William M., of Bowie, and Robert W., of Dallas, Tex.