Florida Coast Guard Auxiliary Wins International Competition

MIAMI – A team of four U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliarists from Pinellas County, Fla., beat 11 other teams to win the 2007 International Search and Rescue Competition at Toronto Harbor, Toronto, marking the first time in the competition’s eight-year history that an American team has earned top honors.

Six Canadian teams and five other U.S. teams matched skills in the week-long competition designed to test competitors’ ability to plan, communicate and prosecute a maritime search and rescue mission.

Kevin McConn, 48, of Tarpon Springs, Fla., Auxiliary Flotilla 11-9, the team captain, was joined by Don Hoge, 59, Jim Ryder, 69, and Max Garrison, 65, all from Dunedin, Fla., Auxiliary Flotilla 11-10. Together, the team of veteran volunteers earned 88 points out of a possible 104, besting the closest competitors by 35 points.

Events in the competition included a person-in-the-water recovery, rescue of a person from a burning vessel, search and rescue planning, seamanship, communications, vessel de-watering, line heaving and marlinspike.

The Coast Guard Auxiliary is the uniformed, volunteer component of the Coast Guard, whose members assist the active-duty Coast Guard in all mission areas except law enforcement and national defense. Originally founded in 1939 as the Coast Guard Reserve and later re-designated as the Auxiliary in 1941, its 28,000 members donate millions of hours in support of Coast Guard missions. To learn more about the Coast Guard Auxiliary visit their website.

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