Published on Australian Maritime Safety Authority (

National Search and Rescue manual

Natsar manual

The National Search and Rescue Manual is the standard reference document for use by all search and rescue authorities and other organisations that provide search and rescue services in Australia.

It outlines the agreed methods of coordination through which search and rescue operations are conducted within Australia.

The manual is consistent with the relevant International Conventions to which Australia is party.

Available online only, this is the latest edition.


Available by section

The date of the most recent amendment is shown.

Preliminaries PDF700.45 KB updated February 2023


  • Front cover
  • Foreword
  • National Library Registration
  • Introduction
  • Defence letter of promulgation
  • Table of content
  • Index
  • Acronyms and abbreviations
  • Glossary

Volume 1—Search and rescue administration PDF613.76 KB updated February 2023

  • Chapter 1—Search and rescue system organisation
  • Chapter 2—Search and rescue management
  • Chapter 3—Training and exercises

Volume 2—Search and rescue operations PDF12.83 MB updated February 2023

  • Chapter 1—Communications
  • Chapter 2—Awareness and initial action
  • Chapter 3—Search planning and evaluation
  • Chapter 4—Search and rescue techniques
  • Chapter 5—Rescue planning operations
  • Chapter 6—Conclusion of search and rescue operations
  • Chapter 7—Medical factors

Appendices PDF5.49 MB updated February 2023

  • Appendix A—Inter-governmental agreement (IGA) on national search and rescue arrangements
  • Appendix B—National search and rescue responsibilities and functions
  • Appendix C—National operational procedure for transfer of coordination for land SAR incidents
  • Appendix D—1-10
  • Appendix E—1-17


The NATSAR Manual is reviewed and updated through an annual amendments program. Amendments can be proposed throughout the year, which are then reviewed and approved by the NATSAR Council at the annual meeting. All approved amendments can be viewed in the amendment history below.

To propose an amendment please download and complete the required fields within the manual amendment schedule DOCX21.38 KB and email to the Secretariat.

Amendment history