The safety system of the Bol d’Or Mirabaud is made up of around thirty boats chartered by the Société Nautique de Genève and gathered under the authority of the “Portos”, the three cantonal lake police forces (GE, VD, VS) and the French fire brigade as well as the rescue companies of the SISL.
The SISL is made up of 34 sections: five from Geneva, nineteen from Vaud, two from Valais and eight from France. Its 2,200 members are volunteers, the most dynamic of whom contribute each year to the security of the BOM.
Founded in 1889, the Bouveret rescue section is responsible for safety in the Haut-Lac region. “We are in charge of the area around the halfway mark,” explains Michel Schüll, president of the section. ” “We are ready to operate from 1 p.m. on Saturday, which is about when the first boats arrive in le Bouveret if there is a good breeze, and then until the end of the event on Sunday.”
The halfway mark is one of the hot spots on the BOM course: the boats meet in a small area and if the wind is up, it can get quite sporty. “There is sometimes a fairly large concentration of boats and it is lively,” says Michel. ” Our crews are made up of four people and we usually change every 3-4 hours in order to ensure a high level of safety. The day’s program is established in advance: we plan meals, schedules and crew rotations. Throughout the day, there are about 10 to 12 volunteers from our section in le Bouveret. ”
Michel Schüll has been president for more than fifty years and looks forward to the BOM every year: ” I enjoy doing this, I am passionate about navigating and I like to make myself useful by ensuring safety. Besides, the Bol d’Or Mirabaud is a fantastic race. ”
International Rescue Festival
Each year, one of the SISL sections organises a festival with the aim of bringing the different sections together and presenting the work of the rescuers. In 2023, the Rolle section will organise this celebration from 17 to 20 August, on the occasion of its 125th anniversary. “We are delighted to organise this event with the support of the town and the whole region,” says Numa Grau, president of the section. “It will be an opportunity to present our new intervention unit.”
The festivities will take place over four days and will be open to everyone. The highlight of the weekend will be on Saturday, when competitions between the rescue sections will take place. Three disciplines will be featured:
- Rowing: wooden rowing boats are part of Lake Geneva’s heritage. Rowing competitions are organised; they help to strengthen team spirit, which is important in rescue work.
- Caring test: concrete situations will be simulated in order to present the training in care giving.
- Dive to dummy: 25m swim and return with a dummy.
The Rolle rescue section has about forty members and is involved with three boats in the Bol d’Or Mirabaud. “We all share the same love of the lake and we work for each other. There is a real support between us to face the risks of the lake”, concludes Numa Grau.