Five Rescued from the Chesapeake

An alert skipper and his fast-thinking crew receive Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medals for their efforts. From our October 14, 2010, CW Reckonings

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The Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal is awarded by U.S. Sailing to any person who saves or tries to rescue someone from drowning, shipwreck, or other perils at sea within the United States, or as part of a sailboat race or voyage that originated or stopped in the U.S.Coutesy Fo U.s. Sailing

A Maryland sailor and his crew are the latest recipients of U.S. Sailing's Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medals. According to the details supplied by U.S. Sailing, on the night of July 17, 2010, Larry Vazzano of Mount Airy, Maryland, and his crew of three aboard the CS 40 Wharf Rat, were powering home to Pasadena, Maryland, from the Solomons Island Invitational Regatta. Soon after passing under the Bay Bridge at 11:00 p.m., they heard screams for help and spotted a navigation light that was being waved about. Vazzano quickly throttled back and cautiously drove towards the light until they saw two men and a 12-year-old boy clinging to a capsized boat.

Vazzano initiated a Mayday, deployed the boat's Lifesling rescue device that was attached to the boat by a long length of line, and circled around the overturned 14-foot powerboat. The two men grabbed the line and were pulled to the sailboat, where they came aboard by climbing the stern boarding ladder. Vazzano and crew then retrieved the boy from the boat with a throw rope. Soon, they learned that others were still in the water, and they spotted a woman and a man clinging to a cooler. Of the five, only the boy was wearing a life jacket.

A rescue helicopter arrived overhead as a police boat from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources came along and picked up the remaining two in the water and the three others on Wharf Rat. After three hours in the water, they were treated for mild hypothermia and shock. The incident was caused when a wave capsized the small motorboat.

Since it was established in 1990 by friends of the late Mr. Hanson, an ocean-racing sailor from the Chesapeake Bay, the Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal has been presented to the crews of more than 150 boats. Any individual or organization may submit a nomination for a Hanson Rescue Medal. For more information on these medals, including details on how to make a nomination, click here