The Coast Guard on St. Maarten constantly patrols the waters around the island. Their primary functions in St. Maarten are border control and law enforcement; they generally do not get involved in search and rescue, as is typical in other countries. St. Maarten/ St. Martin waters for search and rescue are coordinated out of the French MRCC based in Fort de France.

Some of the rules of the Country St. Maarten that you must comply with:

Safety First--All vessels must be operated in a safe manner, not endangering them- selves or others.

A valid certifcate of sea-worthiness must be clearly visible on board the vessel at all times.

The Captain must have a certifcate of competency to present to the authorities on demand

Commercial Vessels must have a carved watermark, indicating the maximum num- ber of passengers allowed on board, ac- cording to the certifcate of sea-worthiness

The skipper must be able to operate the vessel and CANNOT be under the infu- ence of drugs or alcohol.

However, there are some specifc ordinances and regulations that you must comply with while in St. Maarten territorial waters. The captain of the vessel needs a valid licenses, ownership documents and valid identifcation at all times, or they can be fned. In case of reckless or illegal behavior, the vessel can also be seized.

Life-Saving devices, fre extinguishing appli- ances and everything deemed necessary by the Harbour Master for the conservation of the vessel and the safety of crew and passengers must in date, on board and easily accessible.

The captain must do everything possible to avoid causing a collision, including decreasing speed on approach.

The vessel must decrease speed if the bow wake can cause danger or serious hindrance to others

Must have the required navigation lights, Mast head light, side running Lights at bow and / or Mast head as required by size of vessel, Stern Light. Small rowing vessels must also have a white lantern or side running lights if operating at night.

The Dumping of harmful substances in the sea is illegal.



Failing to comply with the above can result in a fne. Report irregularities and illegal activ- ity to the Coast Guard, 24 hours a day , 7 days a week on their emergency number 913



In the event of an emergency while at sea, yachtsmen that are in the vicinity of St. Maarten should use the emergency Ch.16. If your VHF is not working and you have a cellular tele- phone, you may call the St. Maarten Sea Rescue Service by dialing 199 or the Police by dial- ing 911. On the French side, the SNSM (National Society for Rescue at Sea) has two rescue boats. The SNSM can be reached by telephone at 06 90 76 75 00.




The St. Maarten Sea Rescue Foundation (SSRF), established in 1982 assists mariners in distress with the help from their volunteers. The SSRF, members of both the International Maritime Rescue Organization and the Caribbean Search and Rescue Foundation operates two vessels in its rescue operations. Rescue 01 is an infat- able 30ft rigid mark Lacomble, equipped with 2 x 200 hp engines and with a search range of 80 miles. The Rescue 02 is a former Police/Coast Guard ship measures 58ft with a speed of 22 knots and a search range of 300 miles. This vessel is also used in emergency.

Established on November 25th 1982, the St. Maarten Sea Rescue Foundation (SRF) has saved many people from life-threatening situations. This has been made possible not only through the hard work of our voluntary organization but also as a direct result of the generosity of various organizations and individuals who have provided us with the funds necessary to carry out our valuable task.

Today, the SRF comprises 14 active members who are operating our two rescue vessels under just about any sea and weather conditions. The SRF also has many members from the island who have contributed to the organiza- tion over the last 25 years.


The St Maarten Sea Rescue Foundation is now also responsible for the inspections of private and small commercial vessels for the St Maarten ship registry. This means that inspections of private vessels and commercial vessels with a maximum of 12 passengers need to be inspected by SSRF before registration/re- registration can occur.