Recognizing a Hero at Sea

Jul 7, 2016

by Douglas B. Stevenson, Esq., Director, Center for Seafarers’ Rights

One of the very rewarding parts of my work at the Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI) is helping to administer the organization Life Saving Benevolent Association (LSBA). The LSBA has recognized more than one thousand heroes who have risked their lives to go into the water to save others. In my capacity as LSBA President, I recently had the pleasure to honor one such hero.

On June 30 last year, a crewmember on a sailboat in the Long Island Sound was struck in the head by the vessel’s boom and knocked overboard. Mr. Anthony Pozun—on the sailboat as it sailed away—saw the crewman floating face down, unconscious in the water without a personal floatation device. Without regard for his own safety, Mr. Pozun dove into the water and swam about 50 yards in strong currents to the unconscious crewman. Upon reaching him, Mr. Pozun turned the crewman over and began resuscitating him while swimming him back to the vessel. When he reached the sailboat, Mr. Pozun and others on board tried to lift the injured crewman into the boat but could not.

A United States Coast Guard boat—fortuitously leaving the harbor at the same time—diverted to assist in the rescue. Mr. Pozun swam, while holding the crewman, to the Coast Guard vessel and assisted its crew to get the injured crewman into their boat, which then transported him to the nearest dock. A helicopter airlifted the crewman to a hospital—alive and in critical condition. Mr. Pozun then swam back, exhausted, to the sailboat.

For his courage and skill, the LSBA presented Mr. Anthony Pozun a bronze medal and a monetary reward.

The LSBA was established in 1849 to “recognize and reward courage, skill and seamanship in the rescue of human life on the sea or any navigable waters … to encourage training in seamanship, lifeboat work, methods of rescue in the water, and the resuscitation of victims of submersion.” In 2009, the Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI) assumed administration of the LSBA.