How to keep Antibes lifeboat afloat
We asked Jon Usher - the Honorary Secretary to let us know what they need to keep Antibes lifeboat afloat:
Yes, lifeboats are designed to be unsinkable, but keeping them afloat financially is quite a challenge. The present lifeboat in Antibes, the fifth to be stationed here, is the largest on the coast and has an operational range of 250 miles. It is equipped for search and rescue, medical evacuation, firefighting and towing. The all-volunteer crew is unpaid, but fuel, maintenance, training and replacement costs add up to a whacking 80,000€ a year. Contrary to what the man in the street thinks, most of this money is raised by private and business donors. And, we could always do with more...
This is where partnerships come in useful, because we can't do it all alone. Bluewater Yachting, for instance, has an unrivalled network of contacts in the charter and crewing sectors, reaching out to a community which is traditionally generous when it comes to giving to a good cause. Canvassing support and organising fundraising for charity is hard graft, especially on top of a busy day's work. Bluewater staff, in addition to being generous with their own individual donations and pointing potential crew our way, have been tireless in raising money for the service, organising carol concerts, raffles and fun events. They have also used their maritime safety training skills for a joint publicity exercise with the lifeboat, in full view of the crowds on the ramparts of Antibes.
It's not just a question of money. Our crew feel motivated by the moral support they get from seeing people spontaneously giving their time and effort to help us, year in and year out. In the case of Bluewater, the phrase 'friends of Antibes lifeboat' is more than just an expression, it is a reality.