Members of the marine industry in the Caribbean Windward Islands of St. Vincent and the Grenadines have formed an independent rescue operation to give emergency assistance to those on local waters in need of help.
Key features of the group, announced in October at the U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis, Maryland, include intensive training for volunteers, digital communications equipment, and offshore RIBs.
“With a volunteer crew base stretching the length of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, our aim is for no part of the country to be more than 20 minutes away from us once we’re fully operational,” says Matthew Sillifant, the head of operations. The group, which relies on donations and sponsorships, also plans to conduct island transfers for those needing medical assistance when an aircraft isn’t available or affordable.
The round-the-clock service was expected to be up and running as of December 2010. Management from the country’s major charter companies—Barefoot Yacht Charters, The Moorings, Sunsail, and TMM—attended the inaugural meeting held late in the summer of 2010 and unanimously agreed to start immediate fundraising through corporate-sponsorship programs, individual memberships, and donations from yacht-charter guests.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines Search and Rescue “has been needed for many years,” Sillifant says. “Each year, fishermen go missing, usually because of engine failure and lack of communications equipment. This isn’t just about charter boats. It’s about the whole community, both on and off land.”
S.V.G.S.A.R. (www.svgsar.org) is among the newest volunteer search-and-rescue groups serving Caribbean and Bahamian communities and charterers. For more details about others, consult the Caribbean Search & Rescue website (carsar.cgaux.org).
Sunsail Sailing Vacations (www.sunsail.com) has opened a Grenada base at Port Louis Marina, in the island capital of St. George’s. Bareboat and skippered charters on a fleet of 36- to 44-foot monohulls and catamarans are available. . . . Magic Inspiration, a Bahia 46 cat owned and operated by Jeff and Sandy Ludlam and sailing in the British Virgin Islands and throughout the eastern Caribbean, accommodates guest crews of two to six with a variety of rates based on season, events, and menu plans. Consult the boat website (www.chartermagic.com) for additional details. . . . Alcyone, a Mainship 40 trawler, has joined the combined power/sail charter fleet of Southwest Florida Yachts (www.swfyachts.com).
Horizon Yacht Charters, in the B.V.I., now offers rentals of stand-up paddleboards for guests who want to increase the activity level on their sailing vacations. The boards, Bic longboards, rent for US$175 for seven nights. For details, contact Horizon (www.horizonyachtcharters.com). . . . Barefoot Yacht Charters has opened Barefoot Yacht Sales, a brokerage division. Daniel Voorhees ([email protected]) will oversee regional and international sales of new and used yachts for both charter and private ownership. For details, contact Barefoot (www.barefootyachts.com).