ABSAR Antigua Barbuda Search and Rescue

ABSAR History

After being instrumental in the creation of the Antigua & Barbuda Emergency Medical Services department here in Antigua, Jonathan Cornelius began thinking of ways to increase the safety levels of our growing number of sailing regattas.

  • In 1996 Jonathan contacted the race committee for the Antigua Race Week, and offered his services as a Paramedic. The Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta then contacted him about providing the same service for the Classic Yacht Regatta. ABSAR has been a fixture on both race courses ever since. ABSAR was formally started by Julie Harvey Esty in 1998, after an unsuccessful search and rescue for two young Antiguan sailors who encountered problems on their Hobie Cat between the islands of St Lucia and St Vincent. It became clear that there was a need for a formal search and rescue organization that would coordinate both marine and aerial searches for persons and boats lost at sea.

    Between 1998 and 2000, Julie and Jonathan worked together in order to expand ABSAR’s services and when Julie left Antigua in 2000, she turned the operations of ABSAR over to Jonathan to continue ABSAR’s development.

    In 2006, Carlo Falcone of the Antigua Yacht Club Marina offered ABSAR discounted rent for a new base of operations and medic station here in Falmouth Harbour. After the 2012 Olympics in London, there were a large number of Protector RIBs available for purchase. Thanks to several generous ABSAR supporters, we were able to raise enough funds to purchase, update and transport our primary rescue boat which is currently based in Falmouth Harbour. Our 27’ Revenger is currently based at North Sound which enables us to respond in less time to emergencies on the north side of the island and in Barbuda. In 2016, we acquired our fire rescue vehicle which is used for our local response area and to assist the Antigua & Barbuda Fire Department.

    The ABSAR Medic Station is located at the Antigua Yacht Club Marina Resort. We treat a variety of injuries and complaints in cooperation and consultation with many of the doctors on the island. We refer patients to local doctors and medical facilities on the island. During the busy season, we have a continuous flow of patients seeking assistance.

    ABSAR continues to provide emergency medical and rescue services for the Antigua Sailing Week, Antigua Classic Regattas and the many other sailing, boating and swimming events which now take place in Antigua and Barbuda. We receive no government funding and rely entirely on donations and our annual membership program.

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Antigua & Barbuda Search and Rescue
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