Safety at sea strengthened by dedicated volunteers

Press release   •   Feb 21, 2019 08:30 CET

‘Safety at sea in the South Funen Archipelago is insufficient. That is why we have established a volunteer-based emergency preparedness’, says Henning Møller, captain at ESVAGT and volunteer at Ærø Søredningsforening (Ærø Sea Rescue Association).

ESVAGT colleagues spend their spare time together making the South Funen Archipelago a safer place to be. 27 rescue operations in 5 months.

If one was ever in doubt about the need for the rescue service in the South Funen Archipelago, which a group of ESVAGT colleagues are part of on a volunteer basis, this doubt can quickly disappear down to the ground.

A call to Allan Sydtoft to hear about the efforts is answered by the following line:

’I’d love to tell you more about it, but we’re just on our way out on a rescue mission’!

Allan Sydtoft is an FRB Assessor at ESVAGT, where he teaches and assesses his colleagues’ capabilities in manoeuvring ESVAGT’s fast rescue boats, the FRBs. These are competences which he also puts to good use in his spare time, when he volunteers at the Ærø Søredningsforening (Ærø Sea Rescue Association) along with ESVAGT colleagues and the rest of the volunteers. Just like today, where he is helping a malfunctioning sailboat due to a broken rudder.

‘We do it because there is a huge lack in the coverage of the area here’, says Allan Sydtoft:

‘Marstal is one of Denmark's busiest marinas, and there are many people sailing for leisure down here. Search and rescue (SAR) covers Svendborg and Sønderborg, but it’s insufficient for the traffic we have here. That’s why we do it’, he says.

Great teamwork

According to Allan Sydtoft, there are around twenty active volunteers in the association – and more than half are from ESVAGT.

But the link to ESVAGT is not only crew-related. The 12-meter long rescue vessel ‘Erria Rescue’, which is Ærø Søredningsforening’s flagship, has its roots in the shipping company where it was known as the ’Esvagt Transporter’. The vessel was put up for sale by ESVAGT in 2017, and when word travelled that the sea rescue association from Marstal was interested and that many ESVAGT colleagues were involved as volunteers, a deal fell into place.

‘We have a terrific cooperation with ESVAGT’, says Henning Møller, who is captain on the ’Esvagt Sigma’ in his professional life and active in the sea rescue service in his spare time:

‘We were offered to take over the vessel at an absolutely reasonable price, and ESVAGT even donated a pneumatic linethrower afterwards’, says Henning Møller.

ESVAGT standard all the way

But it still isn’t just the vessel and the initiators who are linked to ESVAGT. The sea rescue association has also contacted ordinary seamen at ESVAGT who study at Marstal Navigationsskole (Marstal Maritime Academy) to offer them to become part of the association, giving them the opportunity to maintain their competences during their school period.

For these reasons, the association’s mentality regarding tasks in the South Funen Archipelago has a natural ESVAGT touch.

‘We comply with the same safety and working conditions as ESVAGT’s, because they are optimal. We make sure that the ESVAGT standard with which the vessel was born lives on when we’re on board’, says Henning Møller.


ESVAGT is a dedicated provider of safety and support at sea and a market leader within offshore wind solutions. 

We support the offshore Oil & Gas industries with a wide range of specialized services: Standby, Emergency Response and Rescue Vessels (ERRV), Oil spill response, Firefighting, Tanker assists, Rig moves, Supply services and Interfield transfer of cargo and personnel.

We service offshore wind farms and have a fleet of dedicated Service Operation Vessels (SOV), which ESVAGT pioneered in 2010. The SOVs provide accommodation for technicians, spare time facilities, offices and conference room, storage for small turbine parts, workshops, etc. The SOV offers flexible personnel and equipment transfer capabilities by either Walk-to-Work gangway system or Safe Transfer Boats.

ESVAGT was founded in 1981 and has a fleet of more than 40 vessels and approximately 900 employees on- and offshore.