Ready to Save a Life

Published on March 12th, 2015

Safety is a huge concern when it comes to planning a big regatta. For the 2015 edition of Sperry Charleston Race Week on April 16-19, each of the six race courses (four with starting lines inshore and two with starting lines offshore) will be serviced by dedicated support boats, with crews standing by should any competitor require assistance.

This provision has been in place for over a dozen years, but the event’s steering committee also ensures that qualified medical personnel are on the water, ready to swing into action should a medical emergency occur. This has been standard practice at Charleston Race Week, which is open to all sailboats 19 to 80 feet in length, for the past four years.

“We have two teams of EMT personnel offshore and one team inshore to serve all of the race courses,” explains Dr. Steven Shapiro, Vice President of Medical Affairs and Chief Medical Officer at Roper St. Francis Healthcare in Charleston. “In addition, we have what we call a mothership that monitors the traffic on each of the VHF channels used by the race committees. We’re ready to dispatch a team to the appropriate area should they be needed. Our approach is to put fully equipped EMT units on the water so we can respond in minutes for almost any emergency.”

Dr. Shapiro, who is very active in the local sailing community, added: “We believe that with our safety boats and medical teams on the water, we can potentially save someone’s life. Fortunately, over the past several years, we’ve had very few situations that required our attention. Yes, we have seen our share of injuries due to accidental jibes, etc. We’ve treated lacerations, and a dislocated shoulder or two in the past, but no serious problems. Nonetheless, we are ready for serious injuries and issues should they arise. We all know that sailing is a fun sport, but like any activity, there can be risks. We always remind the competitors to be prepared. Our most successful regatta is one where our medical team isn’t needed at all.”


Source: Event media

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