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What is IAMSAR Manual and Its purpose?


IAMSAR, jointly published by IMO & ICAO, comes in three (3) volumes each written with specific SAR duties in mind.

  1. Vol 1 – Organisation and Management Volume - discusses the global SAR system concept, establishment of national and regional SAR systems, and cooperation with neighboring states to provide effective and economical SAR services.

  2. VOL II – Mission Co-ordination Volume - assists personnel who plan and co-ordinate SAR operations

  3. VOL III – Mobile Facilities - is intended to be carried aboard rescue units, aircraft, and vessels to help in the performance of search, rescue, or on-scene coordinator functions.


The purpose of the International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue Manual for Mobile Facilities is to provide guidance to those who:

  • operate aircraft, vessels, or other craft, and who may be called upon to use the facility to support SAR operations

  • may need to perform on-scene co-ordinator functions for multiple facilities in the vicinity of a distress situation

  • experience actual or potential emergencies, and may require search and rescue (SAR) assistance.


Under long-standing traditions of the sea and various provisions of international law, ship masters are obligated to assist others in distress at sea whenever they can safely do so.

The responsibilities to render assistance to a distressed vessel or aircraft are based on humanitarian considerations and established international practice. Specific obligations can be found in several conventions, including the following:

  • Annex 12 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation

  • International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue

  • Regulation V/33 of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974 (SOLAS 1974). (See appendix A).


To carry out these responsibilities, States have established national SAR organizations or joined one or more other States to form a regional SAR organization associated with an ocean area or continent.

A search and rescue region (SRR) is an area of defined dimensions associated with a rescue coordination center (RCC) within which SAR services are provided.

  • SRRs help to define who has primary responsibility for coordinating responses to distress situations in every area of the world, but they are not intended to restrict anyone from assisting persons in distress

  • the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) regional air navigation plans (RANPs) depict aeronautical SRRs

  • the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Global SAR Plan depicts maritime SRRs

Also, Check

  1. Williamson turn, One turn (Single turn, Anderson turn), and Scharnov turn

  2. IAMSAR Search Patterns

  3. Type of Search and Rescue (SAR) coordinators as per IAMSAR

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