Volunteer SAR with Captain Ron Hagerman and his Team

Recently, we received an email from Captain Ron Hagerman who commands a search and rescue team based in southwestern Florida. He contacted us soon after he returned from leading his team on a search and rescue mission in Louisiana during Hurricane Laura.

Following a brief email correspondence, we spoke on the phone with Captain Hagerman because we wanted to learn more about his operation. We were eager to listen and he was eager to talk with us.

After chatting with Captain Hagerman about search and rescue, hurricanes, and what a PWC sponsorship would do for them, we put a story together. Initially our intention was to put together a Seven Deadly Questions interview. However, our enthusiasm got the best of us and we ended up taking notes while letting the conversation flow.

What began as a one-man operation during Hurricane Katrina; is now an organized eight member SAR team, consisting of retired Marines and specialized civilians. The SAR team is a branch of the Marco Patriots, an all-volunteer 5013c non-profit organization dedicated to providing relief to victims of disasters. The group has over 14,000 followers on the Marco Patriots Facebook Page.

Captain Hagerman is the Disaster Response Team Lead for the Marco Patriots.

During our first few minutes on the phone, it was clear that Captain Hagerman thrives on giving back to the community. Ron owns a jet ski tours company so he might be found letting the military ride for free or prepping for a trip to an area under imminent threat of a landfalling hurricane. Whatever the reason, you can bet he’s giving back because that’s how he rolls.

SAR missions are a priority and Captain Hagerman believes that they are his calling. He operates under a “Go now” approach and the goal for he and his team is to get there first so that they can offer immediate care and assistance. This means that they usually arrive while a hurricane is still lashing out at an area.

The crew has rescued hundreds of people during their missions. The goal now is to get a PWC sponsorship so Captain Hagerman can stop using his business assets during their missions. His truck and watercraft have taken beatings in the debris filled waters and wear and tear of travel.

Their story went public after returning from the devastation of Hurricane Laura and since then; they have garnered enough donations for the purchase a truck and a couple of new PWC. The team needs two more skis and safety gear. Also, Captain Hagerman would like to have an ATV on hand for effectively reaching areas where access is difficult. As ATV would allow the team to branch out into land rescues.

If you would like to help the Marco Patriots SAR Team, either through becoming a donor or a sponsor, contact Captain Ron Hagerman at: [email protected]. Captain Hagerman will be glad to hear from you, especially if you’re with Sea-Doo or Yamaha and offering a sponsorship!

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Ocean Priselac

An avid mountain and bodyboarder who lives by "if you don't go, you'll never know," with an affinity for wildlife and animal rescue; surf forecasting is a huge part of Ocean's life and was a winner in Red Bull's Project Swell several years ago. The 2014 LB2CAT was her first jet ski competition and can't wait to do it again!

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