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 is modeled after the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) in the UK. VISAR currently comprises 43 volunteers who serve the people of the Virgin Islands.
The organization has helped over 1,200 people and saved over 40 lives in its 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. Since the calls to which they respond are also quite varied. Each volunteer has a current Emergency First Responder qualification and participates in rescue boat operations and helicopter response training drills. They work with the US Coast Guard regularly. VISAR based its operations on Tortola, BVI.
In addition to VISAR being an all-volunteer organization, donations are the primary funding for the organization. Completely by donations. They need to raise $250,000+ each year to maintain their operations. They do this through special fund-raising events and group and individual donors. The “Dollar Per Person” program also 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 to maintain the level of service upon which the people and guests of the British Virgin Islands have learned to rely on. We hope you never need them, but every second counts when you do. If you are making a trip down to the BVI, please plan and add Search and Rescue to your contact list.
“Our last family vacation to the BVI we witnessed an elderly lady get injured on Sandy Cay. I had my personal cell phone with me but I did not have VISAR in my contacts list.Quote of an avid VISAR supporter
In the BVI dial 767 for VISAR. Or you can dial +1284-494-4357.
VISAR is a non-profit, volunteer-operated organization. For more information about VISAR, visit https://www.visar.org.