SARASOTA- The Water Support Team have a vital role in the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix.
Service Manager, Joe Catell says they are in charge of everything in the water throughout the weekend.
“ It ranges everything from pace boats, we have wildlife mammal observers on the boats, we have medical that are stationed throughout the course, we have course development that we go out and set the course up, set the markers the pillars, all the safety zones that need to be put in place.”
The water support team has met several times throughout the year preparing for the races.
“We have to identify, in the boating community, there’s a lot of things that happen. Boats break down, so we have to be very flexible and we have to have back up volunteers and we have to have back up vessels and things like that. There’s a lot of strategic planning that goes on behind the scenes until it comes up to race day and then at that point our plan comes together,” says Catell.
Catell says the volunteers are local and want to give back to the community they live in.
“For the most part everybody is gearing up, knowing that the race is coming , so they prep their vessels, they prep their crew, they know what to expect. Like I said these are all seasoned veterans. All of our volunteers have been doing this for many many years, so it’s like clockwork. We’re a well-oiled machine, when we come to the meetings, we know what we are going to do we know how it rolls and we get it done,” says Catell.
Catell says he knows they play a vital role in the success of the weekend.
“We take our GPS out on the race course and we drop the markers in the exact locations where the turns are going to be , where the safety lines are going to be , where the out of bounds are going to be and from there we just monitor it, says Catell.
“There counting on us to make sure the markers are in the right position. The turn boats are in the right position, the bucket line or the safety zones are correct and its quite a responsibility,” says Catell