(British) Virgin Islands Search and Rescue (VISAR)
The waters of the British Virgin Islands are made safe for travelers and locals alike with the help of an all-volunteer organization known as the Virgin Islands Search and Rescue, or VISAR.
VISAR was founded in 1988 and modeled after the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) in the UK. VISAR is now currently comprised of 43 volunteers who serve the people of the Virgin Islands. The organization has helped more than 1,200 people and saved over 40 lives in their many search and rescue missions. These volunteers stay up-to-date on the latest rescue and first-aid techniques through the weekly training opportunities VISAR offers. Volunteers must be trained in a diverse array of skills, as the calls to which they respond are also quite varied. Each volunteer has a current Emergency First Responder qualification and participates in rescue boat operation and helicopter response training drills. They work with the US Coast Guard on a regular basis.
Not only is VISAR an all-volunteer organization, they are also funded completely by donations. They need to raise $250,000+ each year to maintain their operations. They do this through special fund-raising events, group and individual donors. There is also the “Dollar Per Person” program, which provides the organization with one dollar for every yacht charter guest in the BVI through various companies.
These funds provide VISAR with the latest training and equipment they need in order to maintain the level of service upon which the people and guests of the British Virgin Islands have learned to rely on.
BVISAIL and Caribbean Yacht Chatters, a division of CKIM Group Inc., are supporters of VISAR
For more information about VISAR, visit http://www.visarbvi.org.