The 47th Annual Bernie Butler/BASRA Swim race is still one of the top summertime attractions for residents and tourists alike. The swim race and exhibition will take place once again August 19 at Coral Beach at 9:00 a.m. Following the competition, along with the beach party that begins from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m, the U. S. Coast Guard will be back with their demonstrations, including a chase and a rescue scene.

BASRA Chairman Eddie Whan sat with The Freeport News and discussed that the committee is looking to “spice” things up, this year, a little more and noted some possible additions to the already activity-filled day.

“We’re looking to spice it up a little bit. We’re looking to have some games – Tug-O-War and maybe an egg toss. We’re bouncing around ideas to see what’s best suited for it.

“Again we just want to ask the support of the community financially and also to show up and support us on the day of, which they usually do. Every year we have a huge turn out.”

Whan mentioned that it has been facing some “financial difficulty” recently. Nonetheless Whan and company were determined to make sure the race would still happen, even if the funding had to be done personally.

“Mr. David Bell, Collin Rose, Brian Collins, Mr. Bradley’s going to be a part of it as every year that whole team does an excellent job on the time keeping, setting the course up. And with the start boats, and finish boats and safety boats and the buoys I want to thank all of them for all the years of support and we look forward to another 47 years.

“But right now it’s been rough, it’s going to be a little tough but we’re going to make it happen. It’s going to happen and we’re looking for tremendous support and we’re looking to make some money for BASRA this year.”

Competition wise, Whan disclosed that this year’s swim meet could feature a number of international participants.

“Internationally we have a lot more internationals that are showing more support this year and would like to come. Nassau, we always get a bunch of swimmers, and also from Grand Bahama.

“And it seems, this year, that we got a lot of interest from quite a few swimmers. So far by the looks of it we’re even topping last year and that was a tremendous swim.”

The funds raised by this event go a long way in helping BASRA provide top-notch emergency services. BASRA as an entity speaks to the entire community and was noted as “the organization that would assist you in your time of need day or night.”

Speaking with Whan this past Friday, he revealed that last Wednesday there were two rescues that occurred.

“We did two rescues on Wednesday and communicated with the Defense Force to get in touch with Nassau for a sailboat that was in distress off the Berry Islands.

“We do a lot more than people do know. This is a daily activity for us. We get phone calls whether we’re directly involved in the rescue or whether we coordinate. Sometimes it’s beyond our reach off Grand Bahama and so we’d liaison with the Defence Force who would take it from there and look after it.”

He furthered that some missions would take efforts from BASRA, the Coast Guard, Defence Force and sometimes a private aircraft.”

The event is a community-based effort to garner as much support as they possibly can. A number of sponsorship tents have been sold and will be on full display come August 19.

Reported by FN Sports Reporter Shayne Stubbs for The Freeport News.

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