As Abby S's case clearly showed, there is a line somewhere at which point the honor in that tradition can be taken advantage of.
Huh?? Are you saying Abby set out to roll and dismast her vessel in the Indian Ocean, to take advantage of tradition? Surely, needing rescue wasn't in her plan, but that's what every nation's coast guard does..... without hesitation.
Who is being rescued, a competitor in a yacht race (see Sydney Hobart, Vendee Globe, Fastnet, etc.), passengers on a ferry, fishermen, a 16yo from Ca, or an amateur sailor on a little lake in Tx who forgot to put the plug in, shouldn't matter, because nobody knowingly sets out to be rescued.
That's one of those gov. services that cannot discriminate, besides every now end again they need real emergency training.
The Coast Guard rescued over 1 mil. people so far, how many do you think should have been left out there, for various reasons( age, IQ, lack of seaworthy vessel, lack of experience, serves them right for participating in a dangerous race around the world
, lack of gov. funds, etc)?