The SNSM of Honfleur!!

So let me update a memorable spot for my family ,plenty written in my blog about it. One of the best organisations in France that we follow with care. This is not your typical travel post, but recognition to those that deserve it, and hopefully you can get to see them at their base. Let me tell you about the SNSM of Honfleur!

Ok so this should be hard but need to post it and keep as memory of always in my family. if you read my blog you have come to notice we are DNA of island folks both in America and Europe, and we love the sea. I was born with the sea as my patio and have lived near or on it all my life with the exception of the time in Madrid… Honfleur is special for me in more ways than a tourist spot.  Remember they do handle all the lifesaver on the beaches of France!

With the anniversay of my dear late wife Martine passing due to cancer, I like to once again take the task to write something about it as she loved coming here too. We first brought my dear late mom Gladys and she love it too.! And the boat rides were a must of course. A lot better than on a lifeboat as I had to do twice. Anyway, this is the story of the SNSM or Société National de Sauvetages en Mer or something like the National Society of Rescues at Sea.


First class rescue (vedette) star SNS 131 Notre-Dame-du-Port is the boat at Honfleur. Very emotional for me to pass by it as it took the ashes of my mother and wife out to sea burial in 2007 and 2018. Of course, I am a donor since 2007, and the folks at the station of Honfleur are great folks all volunteers ex fisherman, marines, navy etc who does an admirable jobs protecting lives and helping those in deuil. Chapeau!!!


The SNSM station in Honfleur

Sea tides Marée webpage to go out safe at Honfleur

These boats are first-class Star (vedettes) (V1) are unsinkable and self-right able, allowing it to sail away from the coasts and under extreme conditions. It has an average of 2 diesel engines of 330 HP allowing it to reach the speed of 25 knots. They have length in meters: from 13.3 to 16; Width in meters: from 4 to 4.6; Draught in meters: from 1.15 to 1.35; Displacements in tons: from 12 to 20;; Knot speed: 15 to 26;; Motor power in CH: from 225 to 500; The star V1 costs about 800 000 € for a lifespan of 30 years. This lifetime allows this investment to be recover in the long term.

Today, the SNSM has 41 all-weather canoes (CTT), 31 1st class vedettes (V1), 69 2nd class (V2), 4 3rd class (V3), 400 pneumatic, 60 semi-rigid and Jet Ski. In 2018, were delivered a new generation V1 NG for Bandol and Nouméa. The new all-weather canoes recently emerged for the Ile de Sein, Les Sables D’Olonne and Sète. Part of the fleet will be renewed in the coming years because of the end of life of a part of the canoes and the vedettes.  The SNSM rescue boats are located on 218 stations along the metropolitan and overseas coasts and operate under the authority and at the request of the regional operational surveillance and rescue centres (CROSS) which in France are the centers of emergency coordination at sea and which depend on the direction of Maritime Affairs of the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy.


A bit of history I like

A British-majority aristocratic committee established the first rescue company in Boulogne-sur-Mer, under the name “Human Society of the Shipwrecks”. Then, were created the human societies of Dunkerque, Calais, Rouen and Bayonne in 1834, of Dieppe in 1839, and finally Montreuil-sur-Mer in 1841. The beginning of centralization was only apparent in France in 1865, when the Central Shipwreck Rescue Society (SCSN) was founded under the chairmanship of Admiral de Genouilly. As a result of the WWII, everything was to be rebuilt, with most of the shelters and nautical means of the SCSN and the Breton Hospital Rescuers (HSB) being destroyed. The two companies with similar goals can no longer meet the needs of the entire French coastline, particularly because of the developing sea crafts and nautical recreation. The SNSM was born in 1967 of the merger of the Central Shipwrecked Rescue Society (SCSN) and the Breton Hospital Rescuers (HSB), a union raised by Admiral Maurice Amman, former maritime prefect of the 2nd region in Brest, which will become the President of the new company.

The SNSM has three types of activities, the offshore rescue, the training of seasonal lifeguards and the prevention of nautical hazards. In the phocean city of Marseille the vedettes of the 1st class V1 NG La Bonne Mère de Marseille (the good mother of Marseille) SNS 152 is armed by soldiers of the battalion of Marines-firefighters of Marseille and not by volunteers like all the other French and overseas stations. Given the size of the city, it was impossible to rally a crew of volunteer rescuers to sail within the 15-minute period ,which is the target for the average time limit for the overall SNSM.

The official SNSM webpage in French:

There you go a nice history , a wonderful job, and I love them. You too can visit them and they will show you their boats on many events program throughout the year. And of course, if you can donate, as these folks are all volunteers doing a human heck of a job me think. Another plus for Honfleur!

Every year when possible they hold fund raising sea activities all over with the biggest one on the Seine river in Paris. This event is call the Mille SNSM and Le Figaro newspaper has more on it from last year available here:

There you go enjoy it as we do, the SNSM ,and always memorable at Honfleur, Calvados 14 in the region of Normandie.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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