FREEPORT, Grand Bahama — 93 swimmers entered the water on a beautiful sunny Saturday, August 17th for the 43rd annual Bernie Butler BASRA marathon swim race at Coral Beach. The event was won by 13 year old Alec Sands out of Nassau in a time of 32 minutes. Female overall title went to Sabrina Campbell from Freeport in 37:53.
Swimmers of all ages were rewarded with age group prizes, medals, and certificates.
DOWNLOAD: Basra 2013 Age Group Results (PDF)
On January 30-2012 at approximately 5:18am BASRA GB Base received a call from Police control that a 26 foot center console with (6) six P O B was stranded off of West End. The call came in from a concerned citizen in Nassau whom received an original call from the boat and that the cell phone on board had gone dead. After notifying RBDF & OPBAT, BASRA GB then called West End Police Station in request to put a call out on VHF 16 for any vessel that may be in distress. At 6:18am BASRA GB received a call from OPBAT that they received a report of a boat drifting off of West Palm Beach with (12) twelve P O B and the same description type vessel. USCG immediately launched (2) two of their vessels and a Hilo to the vessels last known position. OPBAT later reported that there was no boat found off of WPB and that the Hilo will continue to search from WPB to West End. A boat was then located at N26.33.2 – W 079.09.56 with 6 adults and 3 children ages 3, 10, & 12. The USCG Hilo dropped a VHF radio down to personnel on the vessel and found that all persons on board were in good health; but had no food or water for a day and a half almost two days. Both RBDF and RBPF Marine Patrol Division immediately started to put a rescue plan together. Shortly after, a Rescue vessel left from West End along with RBDF which left from Freeport en route to the stranded vessel. Rescue Vessels were reported on scene at 2pm. By this time USCG Cutter Drummond was also on scene, and it was then decided that USCG cutter would transport the persons back to Freeport. At approximately 7:00pm the USCG Cutter arrived in to Freeport with the (9) nine persons on board where they were then turned over to the proper authorities. Due to rough seas, their vessel was left adrift, in the final report their vessel was a 25’ Aqua Sport center console with a pair of old 150hp Yamaha engines.
A Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Fla., MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew swept pass the shoreline above the festive crowd gathered to watch the helicopter conduct a low-hover rescue swimmer demonstration in support of BASRA’s 41st Annual Bernie Butler Swim Race on Grand Bahama Island. The demonstration highlights the day’s fundraising event for the Grand Bahamas’s all-volunteer Bahamas Air-Sea Rescue Association, or commonly known as BASRA.
BASRA Grand Bahama has held the event every August since 1960 to raise donations to cover the operating costs of its two dedicated rescue boats and volunteer aircraft based in Grand Bahama Island. The volunteers of BASRA work closely with the Royal Bahamian Defence and Police Forces in addition to the U.S. Coast Guard throughout the 700 islands of the Bahamas. BASRA responds to a multitude of emergencies ranging from airplane crashes to sinking boats to disabled and adrift fishermen. The non-profit organization receives no payment for its rescue services, and is entirely sustained through donations and fundraising events such as the annual Swim Race.
With the Bahamas less than 50 miles from Florida, the island nation is a popular destination for American boaters. When Bahamian and American boaters find themselves in distress, a BASRA volunteer radio operator is often the first to hear the MAYDAY call that triggers the search and rescue response by Coast Guard and Bahamian authorities. Through the simple but effective use of radio hails or phone calls to its well-established network of contacts at marinas and port facilities, BASRA has located thousands of boats reported missing; saving countless resource hours in unnecessary search and rescue efforts for vessels safely moored in a local marina or anchored in one of the many pristine anchorages in the Bahamas.
“Today’s rescue swimmer demonstration was a great opportunity for the Coast Guard to show our support to BASRA, one of our most critical partners in the region in which we share a mutual goal of saving lives in the Bahamas,” said Lt. Steve Drauszewski, co-pilot of the MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter. For the demonstration, Drauszewski and pilot Lt. Tom English maneuvered the powerful helicopter only 150 yards from Coral Beach.
As the aircraft steadied in a low hover 30 feet above the water, Coast Guard rescue swimmer Michael Thompson descended and made the short swim ashore where the cheering spectators enjoyed the opportunity to take photos of the swimmer before Thompson returned to the recovery location. Flight mechanic Justin Cimbak lowered the steel cable and harness for Thompson waiting below, and hoisted the rescue swimmer nearly as fast as he descended. The rescue swimmer demonstration provided a welcomed opportunity for the Jayhawk helicopter crew to diversify from its primary mission of law enforcement patrols in support of Operation Bahamas and Turk & Caicos (OPBAT) – a trilateral counter-drug partnership between the U.S., the Bahamas and Turks & Caicos Islands to combat the flow of illegal narcotics throughout the region.
If you are interested in supporting BASRA Grand Bahama, please contact 242-359-4888.
Freeport, Bahamas – On July 13th Around 12:30pm Basra received a distress call from the vessel Lady Joe that they had a man that had been bitten by a shark. His left arm was almost bitten off. Gary Simmons from BASRA also heard the call and responded immediately. BASRA base then called 911 and requested an ambulance to Port Lucaya. BASRA Base then went mobile to meet the ambulance. The injured Man was stabilized and moved to the awaiting ambulance. The crew reported that they were diving on shark junction with the proper dive flag erected, when a glass-bottom boat, Ocean View, came over them whilst chumming the waters. The glass-bottom boat’s crew were yelled at many times that divers were in the water, but to no avail.
On July, 11th at 5:44PM A Plane flying to Bimini spotted a boat on fire and called Freeport control tower whom then called BASRA. The last known Location 26.22.034- 79.03.278, and that the Boat was totally engulfed, 5 Persons were in the water hanging on to the collar and 2 with life jackets. Gary Simmons from BASRA was notified and he himself launched. Another plane stayed over the location and continued to report that the people were now floating westerly and away from the boat. BASRA then notified RBDF, Marine Patrol and OBAT at.6:22 Freeport Harbour Control reported to BASRA that Discovery Sun was 2 miles away and was headed to them.6:38 PM Discovery was on site launching their life boat. 6:46PM 6 POB rescued with 1st and 2nd degree burns. Gary Simmons arrived on site but Discovery said they would take them to Florida. Reported that they had a Cuban, 3 Jamaicans and 2 Haitians. Notified OBAT and they said a Cutter would intercept and remove the 6 for investigation.
On July 11th at 8:48pm A call from West End police came in that they had a call from a lady, that she got a broken call from Family member that he and 3 people were on a 17 foot Whaler 1 mile behind Sandy Cay and were broken down. BASRA then called many people on the Volunteers Search & Rescue list for West End but could get anyone to assist. Finally Nathin Moody at Old Bahama Bay and a police officer went out at 10:00 pm. They then reported to BASRA that they found them at 11:50 pm, and they arrived back at 2am all safe.
By Capt. d’Von M. Archer
Air Sea Rescue Association of Grand Bahama made its mandate to save persons in distress on the sea. Solely manned and operated by volunteers, BASRA has saved many lives and been involved in thousands of rescues. With the assistance of both the Bahamas Defense Force and the U.S. Coast Guard, BASRA Grand Bahama maintains a watchful eye on the Northern Bahamas seas.
Basra Grand Bahama
For the month of May, We had a total of 15 calls, 33 people assisted, 2 people died in plane crash, 2 rescue boats called out, 6 assist from USCG, 1 commercial assists, and 3 assists by others
On 5/1 at 9:15 pm
A Call came in from Stave Hanna in Freeport saying M. Cartwright and Earnest plus 3 other were broken down 10 miles north of Great Issac in a 28 foot Midnight Express, twin engine. Location 26.05-78.59. Basra immediately Contacted Bimini as the closest point, but nothing was available. BASRA then Contacted USCG, However the area was to shallow for their cutter. At 12:00AM BASRA received a updated location of 26.06.638-70.02.208, With the weather getting bad and no more options at approximately 12:30AM BASRA launched Rescue I with Capt. dâ€™Von , Joel and Bob. At approx 2:28 AM Rescue I was in contact by VHF radio, 10 to 20 minutes away from rescuing the vessel. At 3:00 AM the rescued boat was in tow, fortunately they were BASRA was able to get there quick enough as they were very close to going into the rocks at Great Isaac. Rescue I Arrived back in Freeport at 9:30 AM in 10 to 15 foot rough seas.
On 5/2 at 2:00 am
A Call from Different Jammer 33 foot sail with 2 POB, had reported lost steering trying to enter Spanish Wells Eleuthra. Located at 25.35.56-76.44.21. BASRA then could not reach anyone in Eleuthra. BASRA then Called Nassau police and reported problem. At 2:29 the Boat made its way in with rope steering. 3:00 to 6:30am, BTC phone system down, we had no contact with Nassau and no further contact with boat.
On 5/3 at 10:30 am
A Call came in from Greece Search and rescue that oil tanker Kriti Zade call sign CVAT6 is arriving Freeport harbour at 5/4 3:30AM with an injured crew member. BASRA was asked to Contact Elnet Marine to arrange for transportation to the hospital.
On 5/5 at 9:30 pm
A Distress call from boat Major Wager had a fire in the engine room. The vessel was Located 18 miles south of Freeport and 20 miles north of Great Issac headed for Palm Beach. Still running on one engine, Captain decided he will continue toward Palm Beach, and will call if he has further problems.
On 5/6 at 1:00pm
A Call came in from Miami USCG about a ship headed for Freeport Harbour with a sick crew member. Basra was asked to assist in Contacting (ISS) Inchcape Shipping Services to handle contact with USCG and transportation of crew to hospital.
On 5/8 at 8:00pm
A Call came into BASRA from a friend of Elvis that S. Cartwright plus 2, had broken down north of Cormorants Point, in their vessel located at 26.42.767-78.37.916. Boat is anchored and weather is good. Elvis was asked if they had anyone that could assist. BASRA then notified him that this is commercial assist matter and not life or death and we will notify someone to help. At 8:21 PM Cartwright suggested that Colin Rose would assist. 8:30 PM BASRA contacted commercial companies, Peter Rose and Howard, neither were available. 8:54 PM BASRA Talked to family member Samantha Williams and explained what we had been faced with and that we had no one at this time thatâ€™s knows the water to navigate safely and that we would have to wait until morning also that they were anchored and not at risk. At 11:26pm a call from Colin Rose is back at home and is going out on this rescue. Capt. Rose Returned safely with boat at 2:00 AM
On 5/8 at 10:00pm
A Call came into BASRA from Barbara Dean, that a 21 foot skiff with 6 POB had broken down between moores Island and Sweetings Cay. BASRA then Called Sweetings Cay for assistance. Finally Basra was able to get someone at 10:17pm Boat to go out from Moores Island to assist with this rescue.
On 5/10 at 7:20am
A Call came into BASRA from USCG John Berry that a sailboat (Otter 2) was aground off South Bimini, with 3 POB, location 25.34.8-79.17.9 7:30am BASRA then proceeded to call Hyrum Rolle in Bimini. At 07:45 USCG District 7 is going out to location. This rescue was then turned over to (OR&R) Ocean Rescue & Recovery.
On 5/13 at 12:30pm
A Call from USCG in Nassau that a 406 E-Perb was going off on vessel Robin 3, 35 foot power boat. Location 26.31 â€“ 78.37. That area covered all of Taino Beach and the water ways. Rescue I searched the beach area and canals and no boat was located. At 3:30 PM case closed, the signal had stopped.
On 5/15 at 5:40pm
Gary Venant from Pelcan Bay Bone Fish club, while fishing off Water Cay, spotted a flare toward Mangrove Cay around 3:00 PM. No other flares were seen or any report of an overdue vessel. Case was closed.
On 5/18 at 6:25 pm
BASRA Received a report that a 21 foot Paramount with The name Riches Boat Rental Abaco boat # 10 Fueling at Port lucaya. Contacted Riches boat Rental, boat had been sold but name has not been removed.
On 5/22 at 12:15 pm
A Call came in from USCG that they received a call from Bimini Police that a vessel (Reel Easy) reported a dingy adrift with no one on board of Cat Cay at 25.25-79.18. USCG believed it could be divers had lost dingy. Mike from Cat Cay is going out to check the dingy. No further report.
On 5/25 at 7:16 pm
A call came in from USCG John Berry that a Piper Astec with 2 POB clipped a power pole and crashed off Radio Beach North Bimini. Contacted Hyrum Rolle who was on site and knew the pilot Jimmy Johnson, both bodies recovered. USCG had Hilo and cutter on site. 2 American Tourists were injured and were flown to Nassau with server burns.
On 5/28 at 9:15 am
A Call came in from Old Bahama Bay that they are in touch by radio with a 27 foot Stratus (Amber), 2-225 hp, with 6 POB, Capt. Auldly David, is reportedly broken down 14 miles north of Dover Sound at 26.48.589-78.44.163 drifting south. At 10:20am Report to police 911 and called Sgt. Winters with harbour patrol, but nothing was available. 11:00 Old Bahama Bay lost contact. , 11:16am regained contact vessel is now located at 26.48.195-78.41.129, Capt. Vince Dean another BASRA volunteer is going out to assist in Rescue.
BASRA received a Call from RBDF who received a call from USCG Dist 7 that a 27 foot center consol with 7 POB off Cat Cay at 25.31.0-79.17.9 has a personnel locator going off. We notified Cat Cay to put out a call on 16 with no reply. USCG Hilo flew over area and alarm stopped. Dist 7 notified us to stand down.