Please select your home edition
Edition
Marine Resource 2016

Chicago sailors honored with Hanson Rescue Medal

by Jake Fish on 13 Dec 2011
MIAA

Sailors Mary Kovats, Jacob Karlin, and Dave Stix of Chicago, Illinois, will be awarded a Hanson Rescue Medal by US Sailing for their bravery during the rescue of three distressed sailors from the cold, story waters or Lake Michigan on May 7, 2011. US Sailing has awarded these sailors with a Hanson Rescue Medal for the seamanship and regard for safety they exhibited.

Peter Kovats was returning to the Chicago Corinthian Yacht Club (CCYC) in Montrose Harbor from a birthday celebration sail on the lake with his friends Daniel Tenuta and Will Jablonski in Peter’s Rhodes 19 sloop, Peter Pan. They were hit by a storm with winds over 40 knots, hail, and steep waves with a water temperature below 50 degrees. The boat swamped and could not be righted despite several attempts.

Fortunately, Peter had left a float plan with Mary Kovats, his wife, who was the Chicago Corinthian Yacht Club’s Rear Commodore. Concerned that they had not returned by sunset, she rounded up two others sailors, Karlin and Stix, and the three of them headed out from Montrose Harbor into the lake in a small powerboat, which they were trained to use. Peter Pan was soon discovered swamped, drifting, and without the crew. The sailors were discovered wearing life jackets with whistles about 100 yards away. They had been in the cold water for at least 45 minutes and all three sailors – two of whom were in their sixties and the other in his forties – were suffering from hypothermia. Read Mary’s detailed account of the rescue:

Without discussion, Jacob went right for the radio and called in the Mayday. David and I scanned the water for the men. When I spotted something in the distance, David and Jacob handled the boat so I could remain pointing at the object. When we approached the object and realized it was Peter (nonresponsive and semiconscious), Jacob used what he learned in safety and rescue classes to slow the boat and steer around Peter to make his approach.

When we got Peter alongside the boat, we knew we had to position him onto his side so we could grip his body and easily roll him into the Whaler. We were all familiar with this technique from our US Sailing (Safety-at-Sea) classes. We just did it. It was efficient and priceless minutes were saved. We repeated the same technique with all three men.


Fortunately, when all the sailors returned to Montrose Harbor after 9 p.m., many CCYC members were there for meetings. The victims were treated by Dr. Andrea Krasinski, the Club Secretary, and George Quinlan, a ski patroller with OEC/EMT training, until a Chicago Fire Department Emergency Medical Service ambulance took the three sailors to a local hospital for treatment. Other CCYC members went out onto the lake and towed Peter Pan back to the harbor.

'If the wife hadn't gone after them, they would probably be dead by now because nobody would have gone looking for them,' said Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford.

All three rescuers had taken a US Sailing Safety-at-Sea Seminar. Additionally, Mary and Karlin are US Sailing Certified Instructors.

'The training we had was put to use by all of us,' said Mary. 'Every boater should take the (Safety-at-Sea) seminar.'

The Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal is awarded by US Sailing’s Safety-at-Sea Committee 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. Since December 2009, the Safety at Sea Committee of US Sailing has awarded 30 Hanson Rescue Medals for 24 incidents in which 48 lives were saved in the waters of 14 states. More than 180 Hanson Rescue Medals have been awarded since this program was launched in 1989.
Wildwind 2016 660x82Ancasta Ker 33 660x82Southern Spars - 100

Related Articles

SCYA Midwinter Regatta - Sam Heck and Robert Marcus in action
Sam Heck and Merry Cheers decided that just having bought a new Farr 40 race boat, Viva La Vida, wasn’t quite enough. Sam Heck and Merry Cheers decided that just having bought a new Farr 40 race boat, Viva La Vida, wasn’t quite enough. They wanted to race it, right away. So they entered the 2017 SCYA Midwinter Regatta through Long Beach Yacht Club, which hosted their class, and won in the first racing sailboat that they have ever owned.
Posted today at 4:05 am
Overall winner crowned at Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta in St. Petersburg
The first event of 2017 Helly Hansen National Offshore One Design (NOOD) Regatta wrapped in St. Petersburg on Sunday. The first event of the 2017 Helly Hansen National Offshore One Design (NOOD) Regatta wrapped in St. Petersburg on Sunday. After a weekend of close competition in the Lightning division, the class winner — Steve Hayden, 49, of Lake Mary, Fla. — was awarded the regatta’s overall prize.
Posted today at 2:41 am
RORC Caribbean 600 race kicks off tomorrow
The light air forecast is not good news for the Italian ocean racing trimaran which is designed for much stronger winds. Soldini’s men have been monitoring the weather situation closely after the formation of a low-pressure storm system far to the north of Antigua disrupted the normal strong trade wind conditions.
Posted on 19 Feb
Vendée Globe – Roura to finish Monday morning with Super Superbigou
Eleven skippers have already finished and eleven were forced to abandon their race. Seven solo racers were still at sea this Sunday afternoon. Eleven skippers have already finished and eleven were forced to abandon their race.
Posted on 19 Feb
Spectacular opening for the 2017 RORC Caribbean 600
The highly acclaimed Antigua Band 1761 took to the stage and lit the blue touch paper. Sailors enjoyed a traditional Caribbean welcome with the Panache Steel Orchestra opening the musical entertainment, complimentary drinks and fine Caribbean fayre.
Posted on 19 Feb
H.H NOOD Regatta - Local sailors make waves on Tampa Bay during Day 2
Michael Zonnenberg, of the Lightning division, is currently one of only two local skippers leading a class. With sailors from across the country and beyond in town for the annual Helly Hansen National Offshore One Design (NOOD) Regatta this weekend, stand-out local skippers were a highlight of Saturday's competition. Michael Zonnenberg, of the Lightning division, is currently one of only two local skippers leading a class.
Posted on 19 Feb
Krabi waters deliver a spectacular Day 3 of the Bay Regatta 2017
Opting for just two starts each day – monohulls / multihulls – has proven a successful strategy for 2017 The Bay Regatta Opting for just two starts each day – monohulls and multihulls – has proven a successful strategy for the 2017 The Bay Regatta, getting the boats off early and enjoying the good breeze and eye-candy that is the Andaman triangle of Phuket-Phang Nga-Krabi.
Posted on 18 Feb
Amedeo writes his own Vendée Globe story
Parisian political journalist turned solo ocean race Fabrice Amedeo secured 11th place when he crossed the finish line Parisian political journalist turned solo ocean race Fabrice Amedeo secured 11th place when he crossed the finish line off Les Sables d'Olonne at 09 hrs 03 m UTC this morning Saturday 18th February.
Posted on 18 Feb
Vendee Globe - Under a square head jury rig and storm jib - Day 104
Conrad Colman updates from the Atlantic as he makes 6.2kts under Jury Rig with 488nm remaining to sail Conrad Colman updates from the Atlantic as he makes 6.2kts under Jury Rig with 488nm remaining to sail to reach the finish line of the Vendee Globe. The single handed sailor is attempting to become the first competitor in the eight editions of the solo non-stop round the world race to complete the course using only natural energy. He has 200nm under the makeshift rig
Posted on 18 Feb
Amedeo writes his own Vendée Globe story - 11th place
Fabrice Amedeo secured 11th place in the Vendée Globe when he crossed the finish line off Les Sables d’Olonne Journalist and solo ocean race Fabrice Amedeo secured 11th place in the Vendée Globe when he crossed the finish line off Les Sables d’Olonne at 09 hrs 03 m UTC this morning Saturday 18th February. His excellent finish represents the culmination of a dream to take part in the famous solo ocean race around the world. Sailing Newrest-Matmut Amedeo's elapsed time for the course is 103 d 21h 1 m.
Posted on 18 Feb