Saba to get Search and Rescue Boat in 2025

During a presentation, more information was provided on Saba’s future SAR-boat. Photo: Government of Saba

THE BOTTOM-In early 2025, Public Entity Saba will receive a Search and Rescue (SAR) Boat funded by the Dutch Government, specifically the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management (IenW). 

The initiative follows research conducted by Marius Sliedrecht (IenW, Aviation department) in 2018 and 2019, which identified the need for a SAR vessel. The plan, led by Project Leader Hans Schreuder in 2021/2022, includes budget provisions for the vessel, maintenance, crew training, and professional equipment. Additionally, a professional management organization will be established on Saba.

The introduction of the SAR vessel will significantly enhance safety for residents and visitors, addressing a long-standing request from Saba. Currently, there are no formalized SAR operations on Saba, increasing the risk for those in distress at sea due to potentially lengthy response times from the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard.

Maegan Hassell, the Airport Manager, emphasized the importance of having a SAR boat available, especially given the proximity of the Saba airport to water. International regulations require airports near water to have plans in place for specialist rescue services, which this vessel would fulfil, enhancing efficiency for maritime rescue operations.


The emergency vessel, the Habbeké Fast Rescue Craft 903, will be locally maintainable and designed to withstand Caribbean conditions. It will have the capacity to hold 21 persons and 4 rescue team members, with training provided for a crew of 4 initially, aiming to expand to 8 members. 

Training will be conducted in collaboration with the KNRM, tailored to the specific waters of Saba and Sint Eustatius. Construction of the boat is expected to take 9 to 12 months, with full operational capability anticipated in the first half of 2025. Collaboration between Saba and Sint Eustatius will extend to management and sharing technical and maintenance capacity.

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