Search and rescue in Australia

Australia has one of the largest search and rescue regions in the world.

Search and rescue (SAR)

  • Australia has one of the largest SAR regions, covering 53 million square kilometres, which is one-tenth of the Earth’s surface, extending to Antarctica.
  • Our SAR region borders 11 other SAR regions and includes some of the world’s major shipping routes.
  • We collaborate closely with other nations and take a leadership role in SAR in the Indian Ocean and Asia-Pacific Oceans.

Covering over 53 million square kilometres—it’s almost one-tenth of the earth’s surface. Our search and rescue region (SAR) area borders with 11 other regions and includes some of the world’s major shipping routes. 

As a member of the International Maritime Organization Council and with a significant interest in shipping and maritime safety, Australia makes a substantial contribution to SAR capabilities across the region.

When conducting SAR activities, we follow the guidance of international conventions. Australia is responsible for setting its national policies and procedures in line with these conventions to ensure we are providing an effective service to anyone in distress, no matter where they are in the Australian region.

Our SAR services are supported by strong collaborative relationships, formal arrangements and capability building programs across the region, including:

  • in the north-west Indian Ocean region
  • across the archipelagic islands of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea
  • through the south-west Pacific island countries and territories.

Australia’s highly specialised SAR capability allows us to respond quickly to people in distress using satellite technology, response equipment, emergency towage vessels and four jet aircraft. This is support by our team of skilled people who respond to calls for help in the air, on land and at sea—24 hours a day seven days a week.