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Award criteria 

These prestigious awards are in recognition of outstanding contribution to search and rescue within the Australian region during the period 1 July – 30 June.

The awards are open to individuals, groups or organisations that have made a significant contribution to search and rescue in Australia and deserve recognition at a national level.

Any person or organisation can nominate candidates for the Australian SAR Awards by completing the official nomination form.

History of the awards

Awarded first in 1996, the inaugural winners being Senior Constable Aherne, Senior Constable Griffiths and MICA Officer Lamb of the Victorian Police Air Wing for their efforts in the rescue of three men stranded on a sinking trawler in Bass Strait on 23 August 1995.

In the same year two Highly Commended Awards were presented to Mr Kevin Bald for his efforts in the rescue of a man off Kangaroo Island and to Sergeant Richard Mostard of the Bairnsdale Water Police, Victoria for the rescue of a person from an upturned trimaran south east of Gabo Island.

Award categories

To recognise the importance of both professionals and non-professionals within the search and rescue system, the following categories are available for the SAR Awards:

  • Professional—an individual or organisation with the SAR field that has been trained within the search and rescue field or work professionally in a search and rescue role. For example, this includes police officers, rescue aircraft crew, volunteer marine rescue members, and so on.
  • Non-professional—a individual, group or organisation that has not been trained in the search and rescue field but has been involved in a search and rescue operation. For example, this may include fellow hikers, a passer-by or surfers that may have assisted in a search and rescue operation.
  • Long-standing contribution to SAR—an individual, group or organisation that has made an outstanding contribution to the Australian SAR system, over an extended period of time.