The Bahamas Weekly is proud to announce their support of a vital service within The Bahamas - that of BASRA (Bahamas Air Sea and Rescue Association). The logo and link to both the BASRA national site, and BASRA Grand Bahama are now on each and every page of TheBahamasWeekly.com
The New Providence and Grand Bahama associations, although having the same mission, are two separate entities and seek their funding separately. Your support is needed to keep these important organizations going for the safety of all.
BASRA Grand Bahama - Since 1960 the Bahamas Air Sea Rescue Association of Grand Bahama made its mandate to save persons in distress on the sea. Solely manned and operated by volunteers, BASRA has saved many lives and been involved in thousands of rescues. With the assistance of both the Bahamas Defense Force and the U.S. Coast Guard, BASRA Grand Bahama maintains a watchful eye on the Northern Bahamas seas.
BASRA currently operates two vessels for search and rescue missions. These vessels cost $250 per hour to operate and missions range anywhere from 6 to 8 hours. We do not require those rescued to reimburse this fee as we are in the business of saving lives and operate as a non-profit charity.
However, we do need help to keep us afloat. Your annual contribution can make a huge difference to our bottom line. Remember our next mission may SAVE you. Help us by becoming a BASRA member today. Our funds come only from public support through apparel sales, memberships, donations and events such as the August swim race. Any funds you are willing to give will be gratefully accepted.
BASRA's Search and Rescue directors maintain a roster of 6 teams of volunteers. Each team has a captain, medic and a crewman who remain in a constant state of preparedness to deploy on rescues 24 hours per day, 365 days per year as they have done since 1960.
BASRA (New Providence) is a non-profit voluntary organization committed to saving the lives of distressed seamen or airmen in The Bahamas. BASRA has one full time administrator Monday thru Fridays 0900 to 1700 who, in addition to administrative duties monitors the radios, and a Controller who monitors the radios at headquarters on weekends. Volunteer Control Teams continue coverage through the Police Control room in the evenings with volunteer Captains and Crews on duty at all times. Control Officer courses are generally held every two years and the Fleet Captain ensures that vessels are maintained and the Captains are trained.
Before BASRA came into effect
, there was no formal rescue organization in the Bahamas. In 1958 Bobby Symonette, Speaker of the House of Assembly, had Parliament create the Air Sea Rescue Board in the Ministry of Transport. Sir Durward Knowles, a Harbour Pilot, was appointed to run the Board. In the early 60's distress cases escalated particularly among visiting yachtsmen. There were times when neither Pilot Knowles nor the Yacht Haven Charter fishing fleet (which handled the bulk of the rescues) were available.
In May 1963 , Outboard Marine International
, as part of its public relations programme gave a safe boating course. The course instructor was Ben Astarita. After the course the instructor helped Durward Knowles form a volunteer group of boats and planes and establish a radio base. 100 volunteers were recruited from 200 attendees at the Boating Course. Durward Knowles was made Director and Ben Astarita became an executive and Control Officer. A radio was put in Ben's apartment where it was operated many times by Ben's wife Helen. This outfit was called Bahamas Air Sea Rescue Auxiliary. At that time, Government paid the auxiliary's boat and plane expenses which ranged from $15,000 to $20,000 per annum.
In 1964/65 the auxiliary
had 3 Duty Teams, 30 volunteer boats, 7 volunteer aircraft and a dive unit. It averaged about 12 cases per year. In 1998 there are 6 Duty Teams, BASRA has its own fleet and there are branches in Grand Bahama and Abaco along with many volunteers throughout the Bahamas.
BASRA continued to help people in distress
and several Family Islands became BASRA stations. Eventually BASRA Freeport became self sufficient. During the early 1970's BASRA received a 16ft. Inflatable Avon as an inshore vessel. This boat became Captain John Fisk's pride and joy and he looked after it like his child. We also had a major fund raising drive headed by Russell Cairns for updated communications equipment and many friends donated to this cause.
Click to view BASRA National Site HERE
Click to view BASRA Grand Bahama HERE