Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

When was AFRAS established?

AFRAS was formally chartered in November, 1976

What is the AFRAS mission?

The AFRAS mission is to provide worldwide support and assistance to volunteer maritime rescue services and to recognize and honor extraordinary maritime rescues.

Where do donations, sponsorships and membership fees go?

All AFRAS Officers and Directors (except the Secretary) serve as non-compensated volunteers.  The position of Secretary is compensated at an amount approximately equal to ¼ (.25) full-time equivalency.   All other funds accepted go directly toward pursuit of our mission to assist world-wide volunteer maritime rescue services and to recognize extraordinary maritime rescues in the United States, the Caribbean and world-wide.

Can I designate a donation to go to a certain entity?

Yes.  AFRAS is able to accept tax-deductible donations on behalf of the Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) in the United Kingdom & Ireland and for Virgin Island Search and Rescue (VISAR) in the British Virgin Islands.  For all other specific requests, please contact the AFRAS Secretary at or the AFRAS President at; we will work hard to accommodate any directed donation that is in keeping with our mission.

As AFRAS is a 501(c)3 non-profit charity, are my donations or fees tax deductible?

Yes…donations and membership fees are fully tax deductible within the United States.

What does the AFRAS Board of Directors consist of?

Officers of the Board of Directors consist of a Chairman, President, Secretary, Treasurer, and members of the Board.  According to the By-Laws, AFRAS is able to maintain a Board consisting of up to twenty-five Directors.

Am I allowed to attend the Award Ceremony conducted annually on Capitol Hill?

Yes, if you become a Member of AFRAS you will receive a formal invitation to the most prestigious maritime rescue ceremony conducted within the United States.

How does the award selection process work?

All formal awards (to include the Gold Medal, Silver Medal, Amver award, C-PORT award and CAR/SAR award) are selected through a thorough review, discussion and consensus as voted upon by the Board of Directors of AFRAS.

Does AFRAS recognize other forms of heroism with an AFRAS award?

Yes…from time to time as events occur, AFRAS has recognized certain other heroic rescues in the maritime environment to include those conducted by the Department of Defense, Good Samaritans, first responders and others.  These forms of recognition for heroic deeds are awarded on a case-by-case basis as determined by the Board of Directors.

What does the AFRAS logo symbolize? (before Sept 2016 and after)

It is a graphically designed rendering of an Arun-class lifeboat used by the Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) of the United Kingdom & Ireland, and serves as an iconic symbol of our historical relationship with this organization.

The new logo (October 2016) represents people assisting people, rescuer’s saving lives on the water, whether a lake, a river, a sea or the ocean.

Why does AFRAS, an organization that supports the maritime community, have a Wisconsin mailing address?

Though AFRAS is a registered charity in the State of New York and our meetings are normally conducted in the National Capital Region, our Secretary lives in Fish Creek, Wisconsin, and mail service to this venue greatly facilitates her ability to provide better service to our members.