Gapers always slow down on the road to see crashed vehicles or emergency vehicles. Of course, most of the cars roll by without harm. The same occurs on the water, most don’t have accidents, but for those who do, there is quite a collection of these stories.
It all started out in 1989 when the Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal program was put together by US Sailing. I ran the program for a decade, it’s others turn now. Fires, sinkings, heart attacks, overboards, squalls, groundings, keels falling off, vehicles that went off the road into the water, even a naked Polish merchant marine who fell off his ship 24 hours earlier (he ditched his clothes in the effort to stay afloat), amongst other maladies are dealt with. Awards are given even in the few cases where the victim doesn’t survive.
As a sailor, I read each one thinking, “If this situation occurred to me, I can use the steps they used and be able to command clearly to the crew on how to make the recovery.” I know I am prepared better to go to sea after reading these.
This really is about learning, it is not to scare anyone away. Not more than any of us get scared away from driving after all of the accidents we have ever seen!
Nicely, the first ever award ever occurred on Lake Michigan, and there have been many more. You’ll need to grab massive volumes of your favorite drinks and snacks to read all of the 170+ stories. Sit back, relax, and read on –
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