Shawn Steinert has taken on the role of Super Boat International’s medical coordinator for the four-event 2018 offshore powerboat-racing season. The news was announced late last week in a press release on the SBI website.
According to the release, Steinert “has been involved in offshore racing rescue for over 15 years and is retired from the special operations divisions of the Orlando Fire department after serving 27 years.” Steinert was the commanding officer of Heavy Rescue 1, a highly specialized Technical Rescue unit that responded to all Technical and Dive Rescue incidents in Orlando and the Central Florida area, the release stated.
In the past five days, SBI has seen significant personnel changes. Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
Steinert replaces longtime SBI rescue coordinator David Harshfield, a retired Broward County Sheriff Fire and Rescue firefighter/paramedic who held his position with the Key West, Fla.-based race producer for 25 years.
The move ignited controversy in the offshore powerboat racing community.
According to Harshfield, who heads Darkside Offshore Racing Rescue and mostly recently provided safety and rescue services for the Fountain Powerboats kilometer speed-record attempts in Washington, N.C., last week, SBI terminated his independent contractor arrangement after he let the race producer know that he had been asked for proposals—and had bids out—for safety and rescue services for other entities including the new Race World Offshore organization.
In 2017, Harshfield’s group provided safety and rescue services for the inaugural Offshore Powerboat Association Resorts World Bimini Grand Prix.
“I let (SBI principals) John and Deanna Carbonell know through a letter than that we had proposals out we but no signed contracts, and that regardless there would be no conflicts with SBI scheduling,” said Harshfield. “A couple of days after I sent the letter, I sent an email to see if they received it. John said they had but he had a couple of questions. A couple of days later he called me and asked what our status was—he does not want any of ‘his staff’ working for other organizations. I told him that were are independent contractors working safety and rescue and that we don’t get involved in the politics of the sport.”
On March 1, Harshfield received an email from SBI informing him that he was being removed from his position as SBI’s rescue coordinator. On February 10, the organization had sent an email to its staff regarding “unity” and—to the point—work exclusivity for SBI, and asked for a response by February 20. Harshfield did not respond to that email.
“It seemed ridiculous to me,” he said. “We are independent contractors. We can work wherever we want.”
Reached by phone this morning, Deanna Carbonell stated, “Shaun Steinert is the new rescue coordinator. We are not going to comment on anything else.”
Harshfield described Steinert as “a very capable person” and added that SBI has a strong safety and rescue system, developed over many years, in place.
In response to Harshfield’s removal, SBI chief referee Richard Dancisin resigned his position with the organization last night.
“I consider the dismissal of David ridiculous and unwarranted,” said Dancisin. “The practices I believe he was dismissed of his responsibilities for were things that he and other staff members have been doing on a regular basis and would never warrant a dismissal. Why all of the sudden is this a problem?”
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