National Society for Sea Rescue (France) /
Société Nationale de Sauvetage en Mer (SNSM)
The SNSM is a mutual aid association and its members are volunteers. Rescue is free but cargo salvage must be paid by the ship owner. Money received by the SNSM members goes to the association.
In most ports of France, the SNSM has a boathouse, on which its flag is hoisted, and motor boats which are always prepared to sail. The SNSM volunteers saved a lot of human lifes and are highly respected by the seamen. There are 3,500 members in the SNSM, all volunteers. Several them are seamen (fishers, members of the Navy and the Merchant Navy, yachtmen…) In summertime, 1,500 volunteers watch beaches. The SNSM has 27 education and training centers, with 300 volunteer instructors.
In France, Maritime Affairs is the closest organization to Coast Guards. In each region, a Naval Admiral, called Préfet Maritime, is in charge of coordination of all state services for action at sea (Navy, Affaires maritimes, gendarmerie, customs, fishery survey …)The charity, Société Nationale de Sauvetage en Mer, provides most life saving duties at the local level.
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