Volunteers of the St. Maarten Sea Rescue Foundation represented the country last week at the World Maritime Rescue Congress 2023 (WRMC) held in Rotterdam. The visit served to reconnect to Sea Rescue’s fellow nautical rescue organizations, provide learnings to further improve the St. Maarten organization, and explore cooperations for the future. 

This year’s edition of the conference organized by the International Maritime Rescue Federation was hosted by the Royal Dutch Rescue Society (KNRM). The venue of the event was the SS Rotterdam, the former flagship of the Holland America Line (HAL), now permanently moored in the Rotterdam harbor and functioning as a hotel and convention center. Alongside the ship, various demonstrations of maritime rescue strategies were provided for convention visitors and the public.

Sea Rescue representatives Sidney de Weever and Serge Bakker received updates and training at the conference, themed “Towards sustainable maritime SAR, building on our history to secure our future”. Sea Rescue’s communications specialist Sidney de Weever: “An event like this is very important to learn from our fellow colleagues, to gain insights into the newest practices, and bring all of that valuable knowledge back to our compact, wholly voluntary organization”.

The trainings are instrumental to the large changes Sea Rescue is going through this year, finalizing recovery of damage done during Hurricane Irma in 2017. With the help of the R4CR foundation and many other St. Maarten companies and organizations, the foundation’s main vessel R1 Dolphin is close to being thoroughly renewed; an improvement of its second ship R2 Chief will commence this year.

St. Maarten Sea Rescue Foundation over the past 40 years has saved the lives of hundreds of seamen, passengers, and tourists who navigated the island’s territorial waters. Sea Rescue is a wholly independent non-governmental not-for-profit organization. For the four decades of its existence, it has fully relied on voluntary operations and third-party donations to be able to be operational 24/7, 365 days a year. A 10-person brigade is on standby day and night in case ships find themselves in trouble in St. Maarten or in its surrounding seas.

As the main Sea Rescue vessel R1 Dolphin and later R2 Chief are going through profound redevelopment, in-kind as well as monetary donations are welcome. Sea Rescue is always looking out for volunteers and companies and organizations willing to donate resources or materials to the St Maarten Sea Rescue Foundation. Anyone interested in supporting the St. Maarten Sea Rescue Foundation can let the brigade know via searescue.sx.

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