On Thursday, January 24, at 13:00h, Scott Melander will receive the Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal at the National Sailing Programs Symposium at the St. Petersburg Hilton, St. Petersburg, Florida.
US Sailing President Dave Rosekrans will present the award.
Melander and Sarah Hitchcock, also instrumental in the rescue, will receive the award for saving the life of a distressed mariner. They will be recognized at a February presentation.
On June 11, 2001, Hawaii Yacht Club sailing program director Scott Melander was providing orientation training to his new racing coach Sarah Hitchcock in a 13-foot Whaler.
Meanwhile, a 40+-year-old surfer was crossing the Ala Wai Channel when a 50-foot sloop hailed their presence as they were motoring out of the channel. The surfer tried to dive, but it was too late. The propeller of the 50-foot sloop entered behind his left knee and exited out his ankle, leaving his leg cut to the bone.
As the instructors were exiting the channel, the surfer paddled over to them asking for help. Scott rolled him into the Whaler and had him lay facedown with his leg elevated. Scott pulled out his first aid kit, which included large gauze; however, no amount of gauze would be adequate to stop the bleeding. Scott and Sarah pulled off their shirts and applied direct pressure to help slow the flow of blood. They then drove their whaler back into the Ala Wai Harbor turning basin where a neighboring yacht club, Waikiki Yacht Club was conducting classes. They approached and grabbed more shirts. At this time, a lifeguard on a jet ski arrived. Evidently, someone on land had seen the incident and the lifeguards were notified immediately. The lifeguard was already in contact with an ambulance and it was arranged to have them meet at a launch.
Another lifeguard arrived to add more gauze. The ambulance arrived at the scene about 10 minutes after the initial incident. By now, the victim could no longer feel his leg and was dizzy from the loss of blood. The victim remained calm and joked through out the event, which helped to keep his rescuers calm. A stretcher was handed over the sea wall. A team of lifeguards and sailing instructors rolled him into place and handed him over the wall to the professionals. The whole incident lasted about 10 to 15 minutes. Helicopters chased down the 50-foot sloop that left the scene of the accident.
Clearly, it was years of training that came to fruition in this one moment. Scott and Sarah had current Red Cross and CPR certification as part of their US SAILING instructor certifications. In conjunction with Waikiki Yacht Club, Scott had participated in and helped run numerous trauma clinics.
The US Sailing Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal is given to skippers of pleasure boats or race support vessels who effect rescues of victims from the water. The award is made for rescues in U.S. waters, or in races that originate or terminate in a U.S. port. The Rescue Medal has been in existence for twelve years and is administered by US SAILING's Safety-at-Sea Committee (SASC). More information about the Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal can be found at http://www.ussailing.org/safety/Rescues/hansonstories.htm.
The Rescue Medal recognizes acts of exemplary seamanship, and the award process is also used by the SASC as a way to gain more education about rescues at sea. The data and stories of award nominees are studied carefully for the common practices that contribute to, or deter from, the success of a rescue operation.
Born December 8, 1916, Arthur B. "Tim" Hanson started sailing as a child at his family's home on the Chesapeake Bay. He continued the sport during his years at Cornell University and the College of William and Mary. In 1963, Hanson purchased Figaro III, a 47.5 foot Sparkman and Stephens yawl, and renamed it Foolscap. He sailed every Newport-Bermuda Race from 1964 - 1982, four transatlantic races including, Bermuda to Travemunde, Germany; Bermuda to Vigo, Spain; Newport to Cork, Ireland; and Bermuda to Khristiansand, Norway. He also raced many Annapolis - Newport and Marblehead-Halifax races and Block Island Race Weeks. In the early 1970s, Hanson tested the first Electronic Positioning Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) on a private yacht during a transatlantic race.