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Our role in search and rescue

We provide a search and rescue (SAR) service for Australia. This allows us to quickly deploy a SAR response for anyone in distress.

The Australian SAR system is built upon strong collaborative relationships and formal arrangements. This construct allows us to provide an effective SAR service to anyone in distress, no matter where they are in the Australian SAR region.

Australia is signatory to a number of international conventions under which we are required to provide SAR services.

Australia's size, sparse population, economic reliance on sea and air transport, and our active lifestyle present a range of challenges for meeting our SAR responsibilities. These challenges are often realised in Australia's very remote areas, and the vast oceans within our broader SAR region.

Australia must be able to respond wherever people venture, whether by boat, aircraft, vehicle or on foot, and provide an effective SAR service to anyone in distress.

Australia’s system is guided by the National SAR Council, which is committed to maintaining formal arrangements built on strong relationships to provide an effective SAR service.

Our search and rescue response

We are obliged by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority Act 1990  to provide a SAR service for Australia. We provide this service through the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC), located in our Canberra office.

As an international point of contact for Australian SAR, the JRCC receives distress alerts and either coordinates the response or transfers coordination to the responsible SAR authority.

The JRCC can also provide support for state authorities in meeting other national SAR obligations.

Related information

Last updated: 9 November 2020