US Sailing’s Safety-at-Sea Committee has awarded an Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal to the crew of a powerboat that assisted in a rescue off the coast of New Jersey.
After sunset on the night of October 18, 2008, the 72-foot powerboat Coastal Queen was running at nine knots in a steep sea in the Atlantic Ocean with a 32-foot powerboat in tow several miles southeast of Sandy Hook, N.J. Skipper Deacon Nelson (Palm Beach, Fla.) heard a faint cry for help and with a searchlight he spotted a man in the water.
Nelson turned Coastal Queen toward the victim and stopped alongside him. When the victim was unable to secure the life ring that was tossed in his direction, Nelson inched forward and turned the boat so the towline came to the victim. When the victim grabbed the line Nelson stopped the boat. Nelson and crewmember Penny Gehring hauled in the towrope, pulling the victim to Coastal Queen. By hooking a leg around a davit, Nelson leaned over the stern, grabbed the victim under his arm, and hauled him on deck with Gehring’s assistance.
The victim had been in the water for over an hour after his 19-foot fishing boat capsized. He kept himself afloat with his airway just clear of the water by holding a Thermos, a large bottle, and a piece of his stern ladder that had broken off. The victim gradually regained body temperature by taking a warm shower aboard Coastal Queen. Nelson notified the Manasquan Coast Guard station to request a medevac.
'The keys to rescue was staying calm and being able to make secure a connection with the victim,' said Nelson.
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 U.S., or as part of a sailboat race or voyage that originated or stopped in the U.S.
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 more than 165 boats. Any individual or organization may submit a nomination for a Hanson Rescue Medal. www.ussailing.org