St. Maarten Sea Rescue Foundation Boat

All At Sea

Coming together to care for the island’s water hub.


By Alita Singh



In 1980, a group of dedicated individuals with a passion for the ocean and a commitment to saving lives came together to establish the St. Maarten Sea Rescue Foundation (SSRF). They had a clear goal: to educate sea-goers and provide assistance to those in need when facing life-threatening situations in the open waters. With the help of two robust rescue vessels, they vowed to stand by 24/7, ready to respond to emergencies. Since its inception, it has relied on volunteer efforts and third-party donations to operate around the clock, 365 days a year.


For over four decades, the SSRF served as a lifeline for mariners, swimmers, and boaters in distress. Their team of volunteers, driven by a sense of duty, undertook all operational activities and maintenance tasks. In addition to their rescue operations, SSRF actively trained volunteers and supported water-related events, such as regattas and swimming competitions. However, Hurricane Irma hit St. Maarten/St. Martin in 2017, leaving a trail of destruction in her wake. The SSRF was not spared, losing all its assets, including its buildings and rescue vessels. It was a devastating blow to an organization that had selflessly served the community for decades.


Despite the setback, the spirit of the SSRF remained unbroken. They embarked on a mission to rebuild and rehabilitate their sea rescue vessels. The goal was to make them safe, reliable, and fully operational for emergencies. Faced with adversity and with the support of their community, the SSRF continues to stand as a beacon
of hope and safety, ready to rescue those in peril on the beautiful but unforgiving seas of St. Maarten/
St. Martin. Their story is one of resilience, dedication, and the unwavering human spirit’s power to rise above challenges and make a difference.


SSRF is an entirely independent, nongovernmental, nonprofit organization. SSRF welcomes any form of support, from in-kind donations such as light bulbs to essential motor service parts. If you’re interested in contributing to SSRF, send an email to


SSRF is part of the vital link for other groups to care for the island’s water hub. For instance, the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta presents both avid sailors and water spectators with a seriously fun option to enjoy the waters off the island’s shores. The regatta organization also keeps a very good eye out for the care of the water and shorelines.


Kidz at Sea St. Maarten keeps the love of sailing going by helping children understand and seek opportunities in the marine sector. The focus is on them learning to sail as a sport and a vital tool in handling stress, communication, and self-confidence. For the older ones, the Maritime School of the West Indies has hands-on training that equips students with the skills and knowledge they need to excel in the maritime industry.





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