“The sea, a family affair…

Meeting with Eric Busnel, president of the SNSM in Courseulles-sur-mer, passionate about the sea.

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At 16, he followed in his father’s footsteps. Like him, he started as a seasonal worker with the SNSM, then continued as a volunteer.

Today, he is president of the Courseulles station. For some years now, his son and daughter have been following the same path as him!

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A Courseullais since he was 9 years old, Eric has always been close to the sea, summer and winter. He used to go out fishing with his grandfather, and from there a passion was born.

The SNSM, men and women at the service of swimmers and sailors in danger

The SNSM (Société Nationale de Sauvetage en Mer) is a national association under the law of 1901, unique in Europe. It comprises 218 independent stations open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It is made up of volunteers who rescue human lives in danger at sea free of charge.

The majority of its funding is provided by the generosity of the public and private partners and some institutional subsidies.

The creation and operation of the Courseulles-sur-mer SNSM station


In the 1950s, with the development of nautical activities and seaside leisure activities, General Pichat, the mayor of Courseulles-sur-mer, set up the sea rescue service.

In the years that followed, the station was organised, equipment was purchased and volunteers were recruited.

Today, there are 21 of them in the team to ensure our protection.

The station’s intervention zone covers 20 km of coastline from Arromanches-les-Bains to Luc-sur-mer.

The SNSM receives most of its missions from CROSS (Centre Régional Opérationnel de Surveillance et de Sauvetage) Jobourg. This organisation monitors maritime traffic between Normandy and Great Britain, the second busiest in the world with 330,000 merchant ships per year.

In the event of danger, CROSS Jobourg coordinates rescue and assistance operations by requisitioning the SNSM or the State’s nautical and/or aeronautical resources (National Navy, Maritime Affairs, etc.)


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In 2019, the Courseull station carried out 77 sorties, including 33 for rescue operations. 55 people were thus saved.

The qualities required to join the SNSM team

  • be motivated
  • be selfless
  • empathy
  • have a good knowledge of the sea
  • be trained in rescue and first aid and have a boat licence
  • not be afraid to go out in bad weather

You must also be 18 years old and live within 15 minutes of the station.


Emergency call

If you see a person who seems to be in distress on the water, call 196!
The high tides are a spectacle not to be missed, but be aware of a few precautions to take before going out to sea or along the coast:

  • Check the tide times
  • Warn your family and friends
  • Have a means of communication: charged telephone
  • Keep an eye on the weather: it is not advisable to walk along the seafront or to go out to sea if the weather is too bad

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