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Société Nationale de Sauvetage en Mer

The Société Nationale de Sauvetage en Mer (SNSM) is a French voluntary organisation founded in 1967 by merging the Société Centrale de Sauvetage des Naufragés (founded in 1865) and the Hospitaliers Sauveteurs Bretons (1873). Its task is saving lives at sea around the French coast, including the overseas départments and territories.

Société nationale de sauvetage en mer
Logo de la Société Nationale de Sauvetage en Mer (SNSM).svg
Motto" Pour que l'eau salée n'ait jamais le goût des larmes" (So that salt water never taste of tears.
TypeLife savers
Legal statusNGO
PurposeThe SNSM is the charity that saves lives at sea
Region served
Official language
Xavier de la Gorce
€20.2 million
First class swift boat

In 2009 the SNSM was responsible for about half of all sea rescue operations and saved 5,400 lives in 2,816 call-outs and assisted 2,140 boats in distress. 65% of funding comes from the private sector (donations, bequests and sponsorship) and 35% comes from the national government, the regions, the départements and the local communities.



The SNSM has the following boats:

40 All weather lifeboats
25 Class 1 lifeboats (up to 40 Knots/Force 8)
64 Class 2 lifeboats (up to 33 Knots/Force 7)
21 Class 3 lifeboats (up to 10 Knots/Force 3)
425 Inshore lifeboats (including jetskis)

The boats are dispersed in 185 stations (including 15 in overseas territories).


On 7 Jun 2019, the lifeboat Jack Morisseau set out to rescue a fishing vessel in distress during a storm off the Atlantic coast of France. Twenty minutes after launch, someone reported that the lifeboat was upside down on rocks close to its launch point in Les Sables-d'Olonne. Three of the crew died, one was airlifted out of the sea and three others swam to shore. The fisherman was unaccounted for.[1][2]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Witherow, John, ed. (8 June 2019). "Three French lifeboat crew die as vessel capsizes". The Times (72868). p. 41. ISSN 0140-0460.
  2. ^ "Three dead as Storm Miguel hits French coast". BBC News. 7 June 2019. Retrieved 10 June 2019.

External linksEdit