Crew awarded US SAILING Hanson Medals for Chesapeake Bay rescue

Thursday, 14 October 2010

A crew that rescued five people from Chesapeake Bay were awarded Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medals by the US SAILING Safety-at-Sea Committee for the seamanship displayed by their crews.

Rescue Details

On the night of July 17, 2010, Larry Vazzano (Mt. Airy, Md.) and his crew of three in the CS 40 Wharf Rat were powering home to Pasadena, Md., 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 waving navigation light. Vazzano quickly throttled back and cautiously drove towards their light where 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 astern at the end of its line, and circled around the overturned 14-foot powerboat. The two men grabbed the line and were pulled to the boat, where they came aboard by climbing the stern boarding ladder. Wharf Rat then retrieved the boy from the boat with a throw rope. He was the only one of the five wearing a life jacket. The incident was caused when a wave capsized their boat. The crew learned that others were still in the water, and they spotted a woman and a man clinging to a cooler. A rescue helicopter arrived overhead as a police boat from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources 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. 

Vazzano has attended several US SAILING Safety at Sea Seminars. Please visit the US SAILING Safety-at-Sea Seminar site at for details on these certification opportunities.

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 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 150 boats. Any individual or organization may submit a nomination for a Hanson Rescue Medal.

Jake Fish

Last Updated ( Thursday, 14 October 2010 )