Half a century of the volunteer coastguard
Breakdowns, vessels running aground, ambulance services, repairs, sea search operations– regardless of the weather the coastguard are ready to help, provide assistance and carry out rescue operations in local waters. Ålands Sjöräddningssällskap was founded in 1965 when a number of people involved in the Åland shipping industry took over the local coast guard which had previously been under Finnish control. Today there are about 160 volunteers and five employees supported by 1,700 supporting members manning six stations around Åland. On average there are about 100 call-outs per year as well as exercise every week. Among the coastguard are many different kinds of people and everyone who is interested in contributing is welcome.
– The only thing you need is a genuine will to help, says Lasse Gottberg, technical manager for Ålands Sjöräddningssällskap.
– We take care of all our own training and the basic course can be done in four evenings. Then you are a coastguard, with your name on our emergency call-up lists so you can be called in to assist when needed.