BASRA on Boating Safety
By BASRA Grand Bahama
Jul 28, 2008 - 10:21:49 PM
Remember, there is NO official “Coast Guard” in the Bahamas.
For over 36 years, BASRA volunteers have been providing search and rescue assistance to all those who travel Bahamian waters.
is a non profit volunteer organization that can only exist through generous donations and membership applications from supporters like you.
There was an incident once where two West End residents were possibly lost at sea. BASRA and Grand Bahama police officials launched search efforts early the next morning to locate the two men, possibly missing at sea. The Two West End residents are alive today as a result of the help from BASRA.
To provide an example of your donations at work, we need only reference another call for help. Our volunteer boat crew of three men had to make a (60nm) sixty to (70nm) seventy-mile round trip to rescue and tow a (26’) twenty-six foot Mako boat with seven people on board. The Mako had run out of fuel (Basra was notified of a disabled vessel drifting) between Bimini and Grand Bahama, they had no flares, no VHF radio, no life jackets nor provisions on board. Their only means of communication was the text messaging service from their phones. (Lucky for a Signal).
Having already been caught in the fast-moving east to west current south of Freeport they were on their way to the Gulf Stream. Our team took four and a half hours to find them (due to the lack of proper equipment on board their boat) and a few hours to tow them into Freeport. Our cost of mission, accounting for wear and tear on our new motors($40.00 per hour), fuel ($3.86 per gallon) two cycle oil ($100.00) total is around $650.00 To date, we have received little more than
a thank you from some of the people on the vessel despite promises to donate to BASRA.
Whenever any incidents such as those that I have mentioned and
many more that were not mentioned; BASRA
trained boat crews have to take into consideration their own life and limb to rescue persons who’s action have put them and their boats crew at risk.
We receive limited Government or G.B Port Authority support. We rely mainly on memberships, merchandise sales, donations and fundraisers.
BASRA would really appreciate if there could be more supporters and sponsors to help accommodate with the expenses during this time of need and would be grateful of your full support.
Simple Tips for Boating Safety:
File a Float Plan; what this consists of is what type of boat you are going in, how many people are on board, what your boat is equipped with i.e. VHF radio, type of engine, Global Positioning System (GPS), anchor and rope (you would be surprised), life jackets, flares, signaling mirror, and most importantly WHERE YOU ARE GOING FISHING and When will you be back. As a bonus have a picture of your boat with your float plan. Then, here is a big one, Leave the Float Plan with some one on shore… If they are not back by 2pm don’t wait till 2Am to call Basra, Time is Very Important when a persons life could be on the line.
Take enough previsions for every one on board; rule of thumb is one gallon of water per person on board per day and carry non perishable foods
If you have a choice between $100 in gas or 2 cases of beer please get the gas… Again you would be surprised
Igloo coolers are NOT Life Jackets or Personal Floatation Devices (PFD’S)!!! For Less then $20 you can purchase a life jacket for yourself at any local marine store. If you want to go for the bonus put a miniature flash light and whistle on it for a few dollars more. I assure you this is the cheapest you will ever get a life insurance policy for. It is proven it works and saves lives. Make sure the PFD’s are in a location where you can readily access them in an emergency. If you do not know how to swim and love boats please wear a life Jacket at all times on the water, they make PFD’s now that look like back supports that will automatically inflate if you fall over board, they are comfortable and allow you to have your full mobility as if you were not wearing one. Young kids should always and I repeat ALWAYS be wearing a life jacket, even if you are just going for a cruise through the canal.
Have your boat checked by a proper Certified Mechanic. Do not put off simple repairs, as they can and will lead to bigger problems for you when you least need it to.
If you do have an accident and your boat capsizes, Please STAY WITH THE BOAT!!! A boat is a lot easier to spot then a person, and it is very hard to read the distance to land if you are in the water. If the boat sinks, stay in a group and remember Stay Calm.
Prior to departing on any trip check your equipment to make sure everything is working, test your VHF, make sure your fuel gage is working, if you engine is not sounding right then odds are it is not running right. Simple things to prevent disasters.
Bahamas Air Sea Rescue Association is not a Towing Service, we are in place to save lives. To contact BASRA call 359-4888 or 727-4888 or 35-BASRA or for boaters call VHF 16, remember channel 16 is a Hailing and Emergency Frequency ONLY. Please do not have full conversations on this channel, once your party replies switch to a working channel to allow for emergency calls to come through. Remember Boat Smart, Boat Safe and have a safe Holiday.
BASRA Grand Bahama
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