The US Sailing Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal is awarded for bravery on the waterways.
PORTSMOUTH, RI (February 1, 2016) – The US Sailing Safety at Sea Committee awarded the Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medals to eight boats for their heroic efforts when a microburst storm hit the 2015 Flying Scot Atlantic Coast Championship, hosted by the Blackbeard Sailing Club, in New Bern, NC on September 12.
A rainstorm storm was forecasted, but nobody expected or predicted the accompanying 60 knot microburst. It descended instantly, for a short duration, causing chaos throughout the 23-boat fleet. Many sailors reported having been trapped in lines when the boats capsized. These sailors were able to release themselves from the lines before drowning.
Robin Schaffer, who provided assistance to sailors after the storm abated, described it as coming to the scene in the movie ‘Titanic’ with boats and people in the water everywhere.
Several of the eight rescue boats were race committee boats; others came from the shore who recognized additional assistance was needed. A local phone rescue system was utilized where volunteer rescuers input their phone number to the system. People on the water can call for assistance with their message recorded, which is dialed out to all volunteer rescuers.
All sailors in distress were recovered with no injuries reported. The following were awarded the eight US Sailing Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medals at a ceremony hosted by Blackbeard Sailing Club on January 9, 2016. The medals were presented by US Sailing Regional Race Officer and Club Judge Joleen Rasmussen. Learn more about the individual rescues in the reports below:
- Eddie Parker and Richard Schott rescued four sailors
- Ken Gurganus and Jeff Thomas rescued at least five sailors
- Dave Brown, Polly Brown, and Joe Gormley rescued one sailor
- Jim Zahradka and Mark Brennesholtz rescued four sailors
- Roger Brake and Eric Rasmussen rescued three sailors
- Skip Byrum and Claire Brock rescued four sailors
- Malcolm and Robin Schaffer, and Charlie Marr rescued two sailors
- Bill Harwell and Bill Braun rescued at least five sailors
The Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal is awarded to any person who rescues or endeavors to rescue any other person from drowning, shipwreck, or other perils at sea within the territorial waters of the United States, or as part of a sailboat race or voyage that originated or stopped in the U.S. The medal was established in 1990 by friends of the late Mr. Hanson, an ocean-racing sailor from the Chesapeake Bay, with the purpose of recognizing significant accomplishments in seamanship and collecting case studies of rescues for analysis by the Safety at Sea Committee of US Sailing for use in educational and training programs. Any individual or organization may submit a nomination for a Hanson Rescue Medal.
Visit the US Sailing Hanson Rescue Medal website for more information about these awards, including nomination form instructions and guidelines.
Contact: Jake Fish, US Sailing Communications Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org
About US Sailing
The United States Sailing Association (US Sailing), the national governing body for sailing, provides leadership, integrity, and growth for the sport in the United States. Founded in 1897 and headquartered in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, US Sailing is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization. US Sailing offers training and education programs for instructors and race officials, supports a wide range of sailing organizations and communities, issues offshore rating certificates, and provides administration and oversight of competitive sailing across the country, including National Championships and the US Sailing Team Sperry. For more information, please visit www.ussailing.org.