National Search And Rescue Committee

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National Search and Rescue Committee logoThe NSARC is a coordinating and deliberative body of Federal agency representatives that share a common interest for the national improvement of civil search and rescue policy, procedures, effectiveness, and standardization.  The purpose of the Committee is to coordinate and provide guidance for the implementation of the National SAR Plan (NSP).

During the National Search and Rescue Conference of 1973, conference participants recognized the administrative void and concluded that a permanent committee needed to be established in order to oversee the administrative safeguarding of the United States National Search and Rescue Plan and to act as a coordinating medium for discussions involving national SAR related matters.  Acting upon the Conference conclusion, the Secretary of Transportation, under DOT order 1120.28 dated 21 May 1974, established through a written inter-agency agreement the Interagency Committee on Search and Rescue (ICSAR) which was charged to carry out the aforementioned functions.  The title name given to the inter-agency committee remained in effect from 1974 until a 1999 revision to the inter-agency cooperation agreement changed the committee’s title name to the “National Search and Rescue Committee (NSARC)”.



2703 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave, SE * Washington DC 20593
Phone: (202) 372-2090 * Facsimile: (202) 372-8357*
Email NSARC Secretariat here

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International SAR


List of IMO Documents and Publications

This page lists all IMO documents and publications which are considered essential for use by Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres per COMSAR.

Article on matters relating to implementation of the global SAR system and other issues that SAR authorities may possibly encounter.

Large Scale Rescue Operations at Sea: Guidance on Ensuring the Safety and Security of Seafarers and Rescued Persons (2015) (coming soon)

Maritime Safety Committee: Guidelines on the Treatment of Persons Rescued at Sea (Resolution MSC.167(78); adopted on 20 May 2004)

International Convention on Salvage, 1989

Convention of the High Seas, 1958

Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (1951) and the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees (1967)

Convention of Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (1965) (coming soon)

United Nations General Assembly Resolution 57/150: Strengthening the effectiveness and coordination of international urban search and rescue assistance (2003)

International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG): Hyogo Declaration (2010)

International Law and Search and Rescue

This article provides an overview of: 1) the global SAR system’s international framework and organization; 2) SAR responsibilities and international legal requirements placed on shipmasters and coastal States; 3) and other issues relating to international law and SAR

"Rescue at Sea:  A guide to principles and practices as applied to migrants and refugees"  (version 2015)

This leaflet has been prepared jointly by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).  It is intended for masters, ship owners, government authorities, insurance companies, and other interested parties involved in rescue at sea situations.  It provides guidance on relevant legal provisions, and on practical procedures to ensure the prompt disembarkation of survivors of rescue operations, and measures to meet their specific needs, particularly in the case of refugees and asylum-seekers.

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International Manual for Aircraft Coordinator

This was developed by Denmark, Finland, and Sweden.

Guide for Cold Water Survival

The Maritime Safety Committee, at its ninety-first session (26 to 30 November 2012), taking into account the considerable medical progress which has been made in recent years, approved the revision of MSC.1/Circ.1185 on the Guide for cold water survival, prepared by the Sub-Committee on Radiocommunications and Search and Rescue, at its sixteenth session (12 to 16 March 2012), as set out in the annex.

Search and Rescue Contacts

SAR contacts is a database of international search and rescue agencies and rescue coordination centres maintained by JRCC Halifax, Canadian Coast Guard. The database provides information to support search and rescue operations worldwide.

(NOTE: International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue Manual (IAMSAR) NSARC has adopted the International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue Manual (IAMSAR) as the primary guidance for federal conduct of civil search and rescue.  The IAMSAR Manual is sponsored jointly by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).  It consists of a three volume set:  Volume I is Organization and Management; Volume II is Mission Co-ordination; & Volume III is Mobile Facilities)