rescue operations at sea have risen sharply for three years

The number of interventions by rescue services at sea has more than halved around the French Mediterranean since 2019.

For three years, the number of interventions by the rescue services at sea has more than halved on the French rim of the Mediterranean, in the face of more tourists and amateurs of maritime pleasure, warned Thursday authorities.

3,258 operations during the summer

During the summer of 2022, from May to September, 3,258 rescue operations coordinated by the Mediterranean Regional Operational Center for Surveillance and Rescue (Cross-Med) were rapid, an increase of 57% compared to 2019, before the Covid-19 epidemic.

“More and more people want to take advantage of leisure at sea but do not know the marine environment (…) or how to behave at sea”, noted Vice-Admiral Gilles Boidevezi, maritime prefect of the Mediterranean, in charge of security and maintaining order at sea, during a press conference at the premises of the French Navy command in Marseille.

In total, the various lifeguard services intervened with 7,958 people during the season on the coasts of Bouches-du-Rhône, Occitanie and Corsica, a figure similar to those of 2021 and 2020, years also marked by the Covid -19.

The epidemic “has brought new populations to our shores who have hitherto gone abroad on vacation”, noted Philippe Michaud, director of Cross-Med.

“An uberization of the consumption of leisure and pleasure at sea”

Sign of this rising trend, 35 people died during rescue operations, 9 more than in 2021.

Among the causes of this phenomenon, an “uberization of the consumption of leisure and pleasure at sea”, lamented the boss of Cross-Med, pointing to the growing phenomenon of rentals from individuals to individuals of boats and other jet-skis, which often do not offer “the same level of verification and knowledge” of equipment and risks.

This phenomenon is also coupled, according to him, with a “manifest degradation of the pleasure fleet”, with “private vessels which go out more”.

To prevent this increase in incidents, more checks are carried out, 14,741 in 2022, of which 2,960 resulted in fines.

Nearly a third of these fines concerned speeding and non-compliance with navigation zones, while “the use of over-motorized vehicles”, such as jet skis, are spreading, resulting in “new injuries , very serious and irremediable”, according to the head of Cross-Med.

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