Virgin Islands Search and Rescue (VISAR) is a voluntary organisation dedicated to saving life at sea. It is the officially recognised search and rescue service in the British Virgin Islands, where it provides 24-hour cover every day of the year in close co-operation with the Royal British Virgin Islands police, fire and ambulance services.
Our volunteers come from all walks of life, and undergo rigorous training in seamanship and small boat-handling skills, search and rescue techniques and first aid. They give up their own time to train and answer distress calls with nothing in return except the satisfaction of knowing that they are doing a vital job.
At current levels of activity, VISAR needs about $200,000 per annum to adequately meet the needs of the community and those who find themselves in distress.
VISAR is funded entirely by charitable donation, and does not receive any money from the Government. We rely heavily on the generosity of the people of the BVI, visitors, and people like you.
In addition to the money needed to keep us running, we have several projects for which we are continually saving, including the replacement of both rescue boats and the construction of a new Base Station for Virgin Gorda. Together, these projects require us to raise significant funds.
Funding for VISAR comes through five distinct sources: Membership Subscriptions, Donations, Corporate Sponsorship, the Dollar per Person Campaign from the local Charter Companies, and Fundraising events.
Each year VISAR puts on four large fundraisers:
In the summer you will find us at Swim the Sound and Waterworld. This double event happens at the beginning of June. Swim the Sound is a competitive 2 or 3 mile swim beginning at Saba Rock and ending at Leverick Bay, Virgin Gorda. Once the race ends, Water World begins. This is a family fun day with games, raffle, food, drinks, music, and the famous frozen T-shirt contest.
Market Day is in the fall, generally in November. This one day event features "One Person's Trash is Another Person's Treasure". There is a giant sale of things donated to VISAR, and booths rented by people selling their own goods. There is also a bouncy house and games for kids, burgers and dogs, and drinks.
As the winds begin to change in February VISAR puts on their finest with The Governor's Gourmet Gathering. This is a beautiful night featuring food from the BVI's best restaurants, local music, and an auction. This event is sold out each year and is always a night to remember.
March brings the Mineshaft Golf event at The Mineshaft, Virgin Gorda. This is an evening of fun with casino games, mini-golf, a raffle, and delicious food.
In addition to these yearly events, VISAR is the beneficiary of other fundraisers throughout the year. VISAR definitely puts the FUN in Fundraisers.