Antigua & Barbuda Search & Rescue

Saving lives in Antigua and Barbuda waters, 24/7, is the mission of this vital volunteer-run organization.

Antigua & Barbuda Search And Rescue (ABSAR) is a volunteer organization that provides search and rescue, emergency medical assistance, and marine firefighting services in and around Antigua and Barbuda.

The organization was created after an unsuccessful water rescue in 1997 highlighted the need for a search and rescue service with state-of-the-art equipment and a highly trained and versatile staff. Community support was rallied, funds were raised, and a considerable number of volunteers were recruited and trained to staff the organization. ABSAR became a registered nonprofit in 1998.

“The Mill Reef Fund’s commitment to ABSAR has helped us keep our rescue vehicles and equipment in good condition so that we can conduct operations in the safest and most effective way possible. Donations have also funded vital equipment that includes our Land Rover emergency response vehicle, automated external defibrillators, new navigation equipment, and mobile radios.”

– Jonathan Cornelius, Director of Operations

ABSAR volunteers are on call 24/7 to assist with medical emergencies, marine and aerial search and rescues, and marine-based fires. Rescue vehicles are ready to be launched within minutes of an emergency alert, and the organization’s ambulance is used to transport patients to the Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre and other medical facilities on the island. The ABSAR Medic Station, located at the Antigua Yacht Club Marina Resort, also treats a variety of injuries and illnesses.

The organization provides emergency medical and rescue services for the Antigua Sailing Week, Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta, and many other sailing, boating, and swimming events on the island. The Jolly Harbour base, which opened in 2021, is instrumental in ABSAR’s ability to offer on-the-water support for these events.

ABSAR receives no government funding and relies entirely on its corporate sponsors, membership program, and walk-in donations for support.