INTERVIEW with ABSAR (ANTIGUA & BARBUDA SEARCH & RESCUE)
Axxess Marine is a proud sponsor of Antigua and Barbuda Search and Rescue. We recently had the pleasure of speaking with Jonathan Cornelius, Director of Operations, who shared some information on ABSAR and the impact it makes on the Super Yacht industry and the communities in Antigua and Barbados.
For those in the industry not familiar with the service ABSAR provides, here is a bit of history about the organization: Antigua and Barbuda Search and Rescue (ABSAR) is a voluntary organization dedicated to saving lives in Antigua and Barbuda and the surrounding waters. It is an officially recognized search and rescue service in Antigua and Barbuda where it provides 24-hour coverage, 365 days of the year.
Services ABSAR Provides: Marine Search and Rescue, Marine Firefighting, Community Emergency Medical Response and Firefighting, Medic Station treating walk-in patients for minor medical issues, on-the-water support of local regattas, swimming and boating events and medical training.
(AXXESS MARINE) Jonathan, how many volunteers does ABSAR have?
(JONATHAN) Around 6 volunteers in the summer and about 12 volunteers in the main season.
(AXXESS MARINE) How did you become involved with ABSAR?
(JONATHAN) I have had an interest in helping others for most of my life. I became involved with the rescue boat for Antigua Classics and Antigua Race week in 1996 and then with ABSAR in 2000- it’s been almost 20 years.
(AXXESS MARINE) ABSAR works in close co-operation with the Antiguan Coast Guard, fire and ambulance services, given that, do you have any particularly memorable rescues?
(JONATHAN) We had a cargo boat enroute to Barbuda that exploded with 4 persons onboard. ABSAR was working along side of the Antigua Coast Guard, Caribbean Helicopters, French Coast Guard, Dutch Coast Guard, and a number of local boats. Three persons were rescued, one was never found.
(AXXESS MARINE) Are there simple things that vessels large and small can keep in mind regarding safety and responsibility?
(JONATHAN) Wear your life jacket, carry a VHF radio and GPS, let someone know where you are going and when you will return.
(AXXESS MARINE) What is your best piece of advice for those out on the water as a tourist or Captain and crew of a vessel?
(JONATHAN) Be aware of your surroundings and stay safe.
(AXXESS MARINE) What has been the biggest change you have seen in water safety/rescue operations with regards to technology?
(JONATHAN) The use of EPIRB’s and AIS has been the biggest change. Technology like AIS EPIRB’s and MOB beacons help us find boats and people faster.
(AXXESS MARINE) Could you tell us a bit more about which events and programs you and your team are committed to?
(JONATHAN) Our primary goal is to save lives at sea. We support various events in order to minimize response times to accidents and injuries, as well as to give the marine community piece of mind while enjoying their sport on the water.
(AXXESS MARINE) What are some ways that the Super Yacht community can offer support ABSAR?
(JONATHAN) ABSAR already receives a lot of support from the Super Yacht community. One of the best ways is to join our membership to support ABSAR as an annual member.
Jonathan, thank you so much for your time- we look forward to staying connected and sharing more stories about ABSAR and the incredible work you do for the Super Yacht industry and our communities.
Check out more interviews in the Axxess Marine “Questions With” series. Captain Emile Coetzee, Motor Yacht Hurricane Run Captain Val Doan, Sail Yacht Obsession James Benson BWA Antigua, StarsNBars Annette Ross Anderson