SEARCH AND RESCUE
in the SW North Atlantic and Caribbean
Yachtsmen and pilots who venture into the Bahamas and on down the Greater and Lesser Antilles should be aware of the limitations of facilities to come to their assistance, should they have the misfortune to need help.
If you are used to the comforting umbrella of the US Coast Guard being on the other end of your VHF radio, you certainly need to be awakened to their limitations, when you are far away from the US coast. Whilst they give themselves a "responsibility" for this whole region, in practice your primary source of assistance is any local search and rescue (SAR) facility of the country where you are cruising or flying.
No foreign government in this region has a dedicated search and
rescue organization; some have coast guard operations of their own, but
not devoted solely to SAR.
There are, however, several VOLUNTEER organizations scattered over
this large but sparsely populated region. As you move away from
the US, these are: (a) Bahamas Air-Sea Rescue Association, Nassau (BASRA, Nassau),Grand Bahama (BASRA, G B) & Abaco;
Turks & Caicos Rescue Association (TACRA); (c) Virgin Islands
& Rescue (VISAR) in the British
(d) St Maarten Sea Rescue Foundation (SMSRF), with other units in
Saba and St Eustatius; (e) Antigua & Barbuda Search & Rescue (ABSAR); (f) Citizens Rescue
Organization (CITRO) in Curacao; and
Rescue Foundation Aruba (SARFA). New organizations are being
in Grenada and other Caribbean islands.