A quartet of U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliarists from Pinellas County, Florida Saturday beat five other U.S. teams and six Canadian teams at the 2007 International Search and Rescue Competition held over the past week in Toronto Harbor.
For the first time in the eight year history of the competition, American lifesavers are carrying home the coveted trophy.
To get to ISAR, teams of lifesavers must compete in preliminary regional events. Teams are judged in skill areas in the field of Maritime Search and Rescue. ISAR 2007 featured events that are designed to test the volunteers' ability to plan, communicate and prosecute a maritime search and rescue (SAR) mission.
A Person-In-the-Water Recovery Event evaluated each team's ability to safely approach and retrieve a person in the water or other object and rescue a person from a burning boat. Other events included: Search and Rescue Planning, Seamanship, Communications, Dewatering (boat taking on water), Line Toss and Marlinspike and two surprise events: one with the boat helmsman blindfolded and taking direction from a crewman, and another where crews rowed out to retrieve and backboard a mannequin and bring this simulated victim to shore.
The winning American team consisted of Team Captain Kevin McConn, 48, of Tarpon Springs, Don Hoge, 59, Jim Ryder, 69, and Max Garrison,65, all of Dunedin. In events that included skills that involve strength and speed, these veteran American mariners beat out teams that included much younger U.S. and Canadian competitors. Scoring an impressive 88 out of a possible 104 points, the Florida Auxiliarists bested the closest competitors, a Canadian team, by an impressive 35 points.