AFRAS currently sponsors five different awards to recognize heroic rescues at sea, to include:
The AFRAS Gold Medal (The VADM Thomas Sargent Gold Medal) was initially awarded in 1982 and firmly established for annual presentation since 1987. First called “The AFRAS Gold Medal,” its name was changed in 2009 to honor the Association’s first Chairman, VADM Thomas Sargent, a former Vice Commandant of the United States Coast Guard. The prestigious award is presented annually to a Coast Guard enlisted man or woman for an act of extraordinary bravery during a rescue at sea.
The AFRAS Silver Medal was established in 2001 and is awarded for extraordinary bravery in a rescue at sea by a U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliarist. It is referred to as the “Silver” Medal in keeping with the silver braid worn on Auxiliary uniforms as the criteria for the award is the same as the Gold Medal.
The Chairman’s Award established in 2014 and is awarded to a Coast Guard Auxiliarist (or a team of Coast Guard Auxiliarists) from among the nominations received for the AFRAS Silver Medal, when and only when, all nominations for the Silver Medal do not meet the criteria for the award of the AFRAS Silver Medal (which are the same criteria as the VADM Thomas Sargent III Gold Medal awarded to a Coast Guard enlisted member). A life must be in peril of being lost, whether at sea, on a river, or a lake, and a Coast Guard Auxiliarist (or team of Coast Guard Auxiliarists) must have had a direct impact on saving the life or attempting to save the life in peril — from a watercraft, from land, or a pier, wharf or jetty connected to dry land.
The AFRAS Chairman’s Award will then be selected from votes as tabulated by the AFRAS President from among the AFRAS Board of Directors. The first award was made for the year ended 2013.
The Amver Award was established in 1996 and is presented to a merchant vessel that is part of the world-wide Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue System, for recognition in taking part in a heroic rescue at sea anywhere in the world.
The Cruise Ship Humanitarian Assistance Award was established in September 2016 and is presented to a Cruise Ship for recognition in taking part in a heroic rescue at sea anywhere in the world.
C-PORT (Conference of Professional Operators for Response Towing) Award was established in 2010 and is awarded to a marine assistance provider for their heroic response to aid a fellow mariner in distress.
Caribbean Search and Rescue (CAR/SAR) Award was established in 2010 and is awarded to an island nation entity in the Caribbean Basin that takes part in a heroic rescue; to include government-provided or voluntary assistance or a combination of both.