Regional Development Group in Mariehamn, the Åland Sea Rescue Society celebrated 50 years' service to the islands' boating community – an anniversary marked by the issue of a special stamp by Posten Åland.
ÅSRS Chairman Lennart Joelsson reflected on the great work done by the 120+ volunteers and staff, who not only save lives at sea but also contribute to keeping the islands' maritime environment safe. The society has 1400 supporter members and undertakes between 100-150 SAR missions every year. IMRF Chairman Udo Fox congratulated ÅSRS on behalf of all our members.
Maritime SAR is a close community, he said, and it is good to celebrate the achievements of our fellow rescue organisations, especially the smaller ones. Big budgets cannot replace the drive of dedicated and resourceful people, said Captain Fox. The regional meeting discussed a number of key SAR issues.
Aiiendees heard presentations on various aspects of the refugee and migrant crisis in the Mediterranean and the response to it and, following detailed discussion, asked the IMRF to provide the project management necessary for a coordinated member response to help 'fill the SAR gaps'.
The meeting also heard a proposal from Anna Classon, Head of Operational Policy & Standards at the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, for increased cooperation and collaboration between European SAR organisations on the promulgation of maritime safety education and accident prevention initiatives. We will report on progress under this heading in future editions of LIFE LINE.
The meeting was also very pleased to hear from the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary's Director of International Affairs, Dalene Bailey, who gave an overview of the Auxiliary and how they operate. USCGA are members of the IMRF so when Dalene, who had just taken on the international portiolio, met Udo Fox at the Auxiliary's annual meeting in San Antonio they agreed that his attendance at the European meeting would be a great way of sharing ideas and initiatives.
“Taking part was professionally rewarding and personally satisfying,” says Dalene. “Meeting and sharing ideas and challenges can only benefit all of us as we look at how we can improve safety and rescue at sea.”
Photo Above: Dalene Bailey (left) and ÅSRS CEO, Dag Lindholm, (right) at the meeting in Mariehamn