Setting The Record Straight

From Broadly Boats,

The news media and the Internet can be a fickle audience, slow to recognize success and quick to seize on anything that looks like success. British solo rower Roz Savage managed a quarter page in the British Daily Telegraph on the strength of a photograph of her aground on a sand bank, taking the situation somewhat out of context. Last week Roz was picked up by a USCG helicopter in storm conditions and this generated enough hate mail and uninformed comment to prompt a normally relaxed Roz to write:

There has been a certain amount of negative comment about my rescue by the US Coast Guard. Most of these comments have been based on a misconception of what actually happened, and so I’d like to take this opportunity to set the record straight.

First, I did not call the Coast Guard, nor did any member of my team. The Coast Guard was called in by a wellwisher who was concerned about me. I did not authorise or even know that this had happened – the first I knew of it was when the USCG plane appeared overhead and hailed me on my VHF radio. Once the USCG had been made aware, events took on their own momentum. The USCG made it clear that they were concerned about my welfare, and that they felt it would be best for me to agree to an evacuation. It was only with the greatest reluctance that I eventually agreed after several hours of stating that I was not in need of assistance.

Second, before I embarked I had taken out an insurance policy with the company Global Rescue, who specialise in medical evacuations from inaccessible locations. One of my team members had extensive discussions with Global Rescue about what would happen in the event of an emergency while I was on the ocean, and we had clearly defined procedures governing what should happen in the event of a crisis. Unfortunately, once the USCG became involved, these procedures were no longer applicable – it would have been inappropriate to call for Global Rescue when the USCG was already on the scene. I had taken out this private insurance policy with the specific intention of avoiding cost to the US taxpayer.

Third, I was not “ill-prepared.” I successfully rowed 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean in this same boat, which took me 103 days. The safety standards in the Atlantic Rowing Race are extremely high. In preparing for the Pacific, my standards were even more rigorous, and informed by the lessons I learned during the Atlantic crossing. Many months of careful preparation preceded my Pacific bid. I hope this clarifies the situation.

Once again, I would like to express my deep gratitude to the men and women of the USCG who picked me up from my boat and took care of me once I got to dry land. I admire their courage, their professionalism, and their commitment to public service. America can be justifiably proud of her Coast Guard and the magnificent service they provide.

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