If you are interested in the history of the Association for Rescue at Sea (AFRAS), click this article to know more!
In this article, you will be given detailed information about the history of the Association for Rescue at Sea (AFRAS). Apart from that, you can read more about its missions, efforts, and awards. Let’s read them now!
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Table of Contents
- The AFRAS’s Origin
- The AFRAS’S Missions
- AFRAS and The Early Efforts
- AFRAS and Coast Guard Support
- Expanding AFRAS Assistance to the RNLI and Beyond
- The Advent of the AFRAS International Advisory Group
- Latest Initiatives
The AFRAS’s Origin
In 1976, in London, the US Embassy held a reception for the United States Coast Guard’s Commander. Deputy Adm Sir Peter Compston delivered the meeting. Nicholas Ludeton was also present as a representative for the Royal National Rescue Institute (RNLI).
Plans for an additional institution in the United States have been in existence since that time. Subsequently, the RNLI captain also joined and proposed setting up a charity based in the United States to support RNLI. RNLI members have worked hard with the American executives to form this organization.
In June 1976, RNLI proposed the establishment of the US / UK Lifeboat Appeals committee. Many meetings and meetings took place to conclude. This conclusion states that the appeals receive the majority of the money from US bank accounts.
A trustee must be established in the United States to be eligible for US tax exemption. Trustees include the president and the treasurer or secretary. After that, AFRAS was born as a non-profit organization. It was initially called the American Friends of the RNL before being changed to the Marine Rescue Association.
On November 10, 1976, the New York Foreign Minister submitted the Certificate of Establishment to AFRAS. The first AFRAS meeting was held on November 22, 1976, in the Anglo-American Chamber of Commerce.
The AFRAS’S Missions
Joseph Frohnhoefer III – Sea Tow’s CEO has been appointed to AFRAS. With great pride, Sea Tow Services International has announced that: Since 1976, the Association for Rescue at Sea (AFRAS) has always fulfilled its mission.
The Foundation will provide immediate support to volunteer rescue individuals and organizations around the world. Besides, AFRAS also has AMVER Awards that honor annual marine rescue operations.
Thanks to the support of the Association for Rescue at Sea (AFRAS), marine relief activities of individuals and organizations will be strongly promoted. The mission of the Association for Rescue at Sea (AFRAS) is immense, providing support and resources for volunteer marine rescue services around the world.
Additionally, AFRAS also awarded prestigious awards to recognize and honor individuals performing unexpected sea rescue missions. When rescuing at sea, sailors inevitably face unpredictable dangers.
Therefore, the Association for Rescue at Sea (AFRAS) will improve protection measures’ effectiveness by making monetary and in-kind contributions to voluntary marine rescue organizations nationwide and worldwide.
Typically, relief operations at sea will be undertaken by government organizations. To assist the government and ensure more effective relief work, many volunteers worldwide have come together to form NGOs. They will help and rescue those in distress at sea. They are heroes whose quiet merits deserve credit.
Traditionally, the Association for Rescue at Sea Capitol Hill Gold Medal Award Ceremony (AFRAS) will be held for those actively involved in rescue operations.
To help relief teams better and better, AFRAS always looks for donors to contribute to sea rescue activities. Membership honors to the US Coast Guard will be open to individuals who have contributed to the organization.
Backers will be members of the Marine Corps Officer Rescue Association and the Director. They also can meet with leaders of the maritime industry and Congressional hosts Sean Patrick Maloney and Bob Gibbs or the senior leader of the US Coast Guard.
Furthermore, the ceremony also featured celebrities such as captains and merchants of cruise ships or crews worldwide. You have a chance to talk to them. It was terrific to hear brave people talk about their dramatic and challenging relief journey.
AFRAS and The Early Efforts
David Chomeau joined AFRAS in December 1987. Less than a year later, he became the organization’s Executive Vice President. Thanks to excellent leadership talent and enthusiasm, David Chomeau and the team create new projects.
After that, he became the president of AFRAS and undertook improvements to the organization’s operations and programs. After years of real dedication, Vice Adm. Thomas R. Sargent III, USCG – founding president – decided to resign. He was replaced by former USCG Commander, Admiral Owen Siler.
After the reform was active again, the relationship between AFRAS and RNLI also gradually became more intimate. Edward Wake-Walker – Head of Public Relations for RNLI – visited David Chomeau in November 1989.
At St. Louis, they discussed together and came up with a plan to set up a non-profit organization directly affiliated with RNLI. RNLI highly appreciates RNLI’s relationship with AFRAS.
However, additional funding is a significant issue. A fundraising campaign for “American Lifeboat” is being focused intensely during this time. September 1990, “lifeboat Dublin” – a boat worth 1.2 million dollars is being gathered for fundraising.
Although resources are still scarce and scarce, AFRAS regardless agrees to accomplish this goal. In May 1990, RNLI’s new Head of Fundraising and Marketing, Ian Ventham, spoke with David Chomeau and others to create a useful fundraising tool in the US.
Thanks to his close relationship with David Chomeau and the AFRAS board members, Ian has become a precious friend of AFRAS. RNLI and AFRAS have jointly reviewed and created many different fundraising strategies. Besides effective strategy, many methods still cause disappointment.
RNLI Deputy Director Ray Kipling recognized the importance of RNLI’s resource allocation in US fundraising. Such a massive campaign requires RNLI’s help because AFRAS is still under-resourced.
Thanks to Ian, AFRAS was able to speak with a professional fundraiser in America. Also, RNLI sent AFRAS a list of US donors. They can be both a member of RNLI and a member of AFRAS.
These members will also receive copies of the RNLI Quarterly Lifeboat, other RNLI documents, and AFRAS documents. Besides, they are also the guests of the annual awards ceremonies.
AFRAS and Coast Guard Support
In June 1990, AFRAS gradually took steps to link its operations and the USCG Auxiliary. Stanley Y. Kennedy (National Auxiliary Company NACO) became a member of the AFRAS board of directors.
He and AFRAS discussed together and came up with suitable methods for both subsidiary USCG and AFRAS. In 1999, when Everette L. Tucker was on both USCG Auxux and AFRAS, these discussions were fruitful.
Expanding AFRAS Assistance to the RNLI and Beyond
The British Virgin Islands Search and Rescue Team (VISAR) received massive funding based on an agreement to include AFRAS in 1992. Former VISAR Executive Administrator Alexandra (Alex) Hewitt-Jones – a man of outstanding leadership – ran VISAR in partnership with AFRAS to create a highly efficient system.
This sound quality system will contribute to the VISAR Foundation through AFRAS, with deduction of US taxes. US citizens who wish to help with rescue operations in the British Virgin Islands can contact AFRAS.
The gift they want to send to VISAR will be delivered directly to VISAR by AFRAS. After receiving the donation from everyone, the board of AFRAS will now handle the issue and together agree to send the check to VISAR.
In 1992, Ray Kipling and the International Federation of Lifeboats (now operating as the International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF)) issued a request and the last new initiative. They want to create a source of support for the Estonian Lifesaver Association.
Since this association was newly formed, the necessary relief tools are not entirely sufficient. To help the Estonian Lifesaver Association, AFRAS decided to buy 10 VHF marine radio stations and ship them to Estonia. At the same time, AFRAS has installed many radio stations on each lifeboat and its shore stations.
Continuing until 1993, AFRAS re-engaged in a grant seeking to buy RNLI a Trent class lifeboat. To create the perfect layout, AFRAS and RNLI met and discussed introducing 44 ‘USCG engine lifeboats running out of stock in new 47 footers.
In 2000, AFRAS prepared a new adjustment. The two Atlantic Class lifeboats (RHIB) stopped their work after completing their duties with the RNLI. B-554 US Ambassador created 125 services, saved 26 lives, and processed 41 false alarms at Atlantic University.
In Hunstanton, B-556 Spirit organized 302 operations, saved 78 lives, and dealt with 76 false alarms. After the ILF conference and on the occasion of RNLI’s 175th birthday, thanks to the United States people’s support, AFRAS successfully carried out a campaign to donate a new lifeboat to RNLI.
The Advent of the AFRAS International Advisory Group
In January 1995, three RNLI officials, including LCDR President Brian Miles, Fundraising Director Ian Ventham, and ILF Secretary Ray Kipling, began working with the Private Group.
International Consultation AFRAS. This event created the conditions of interaction and close relationship between AFRAS and RNLI. Also, team members include former RNLI CEO Andrew Freemantle, MBE, Mr. Sip Wiebenga of KNRM Netherlands, and Ms. Alexandra Hewitt-Jones.
This advisory group has the most excellent focus and goal: to coordinate efforts to raise considerable funds. They have come up with a lot of beneficial initiatives so that AFRAS can grow stronger and stronger.
The first and big hit was to raise a million dollars. AFRAS helped facilitate the negotiations between RNLI and Mr. Maurice Hardy and used part of the donation to purchase a new class of RNLI Trent lifeboats.
AFRAS is a long-standing organization associated with important milestones. One of the most prominent and essential events that AFRAS has created on its journey is the AMVER award in early 1996.
The creation of this world-class award has helped bring AFRAS’s name to another. a new level. In March 1996, Rick Kenny – an employee of the AMVER office at Battery in New York – came up with a novel initiative called AFRAS President David Chomeau.
Rick Kenney discussed with AFRAS President David Chomeau about an award dedicated to a merchant ship in the AMVER volunteer program. This merchant ship had a very successful and fantastic rescue. They are people who deserve to be honored for their bravery.
David was very enthusiastic and immediately endorsed the initiative because AFRAS is an international organization. The aspiration that AFRAS always wants to fulfill is to award a merchant for any country in the world. In April 1996, AFRAS scrutinized and calculated all the specifics.
Nick Ludeton informed Rick Kenny that AFRAS would award an annual AMVER award to an AMVER volunteer ship that had the best rescue. Naturally, this award is of international stature and is not limited to any country or person.
Making Up AFRAS Membership
Those who are joint members of RNLI and AFRAS will have a status of up to $ 100 per year. But AFRAS’s membership will only receive $ 20 per year. After a long operation, AFRAS has gradually become financially autonomous based on a new list of RNLI members living in the US or people with banking talents in the US.
The Origin of the Silver Medal for Heroism
The Silver Medal for Heroism is similar to the Gold Medal for an enlisted USCG member. In 2001, this Silver Medal was created to honor Auxiliary USCG members who successfully rescued an emergency at sea. The Silver Medal is no less than the Gold Medal.
Why is that? It was discussed carefully, and it was decided to call this the Silver Medal because it represents the silver braids on the Auxiliary uniform. The usual USCG uses blond braids.
Besides some sub-criteria for training qualifications, crew member age, or the type of ship used by the rescue team, the criteria for consideration for both medals are the same. The AFRAS Selection Council will discuss carefully and base on these essential factors to make a Silver Medal nomination.
In 2004, AFRAS had sought and launched a series of new initiatives, such as corporate funding to create new foundations or highlight the comprehensiveness of Another important SAR event. Awards such as CAR / SAR award, C-PORT award, or outstanding SAR events have also been given much more attention.
AFRAS has focused on new initiatives to better improve its brand since 2012. Those things can be mentioned, including building and redesigning the website for completion. Edit, set up a Mission Statement, start using afras.org email address.
Besides, to call for more funding for support funds, AFRAS is also actively participating in maritime events in the industry.