IAMSAR Manual, Volume I. Organization and Management IJ960E (2019 Edition)

Published Date

August 2019

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IAMSAR Manual, Volume I. Organization and Management IJ960E (2019 Edition)

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This volume discusses the global SAR system concept, establishment and improvement of national and regional SAR systems and cooperation with neighbouring States to provide effective and economical SAR services.

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This publication examines the SAR system from a global, regional and national perspective. It introduces key components of the SAR system and considers the use of training, qualification and certification processes to develop professionally competent SAR personnel. Communication needs of the SAR organization are described and techniques are recommended for creating an organizational environment that fosters improvement of services.

Chapter 1        General system concept

                        1.1       Establishing services

                        1.2       Benefits of services

                        1.3       Legal basis for services

                        1.4       Basic system functions

                        1.5       System management and support

                        1.6       The global concept    

                        1.7       National and regional systems

                        1.8       Search and rescue (SAR) operations by maritime rescue services

                                    in time of armed conflict

Chapter 2        System components

                        2.1       SAR as a system

                        2.2       Communications

                        2.3       Rescue coordination centres

                        2.4       Rescue sub-centres

                        2.5       SAR facilities

                        2.6       On scene coordinator (OSC) and aircraft coordinator (ACO) joint training

                        2.7       Support facilities

Chapter 3        Training, qualification, certification and exercises

                        3.1       Building professionalism

                        3.2       Training specifics

                        3.3       Exercises

Chapter 4        Communications

                        4.1       Introduction

                        4.2       Basic functions and requirements

                        4.3       Important factors for SAR communications

                        4.4       Mobile equipment

                        4.5       Land based infrastructure

                        4.6       Supplemental capabilities

                        4.7       MEDICO communications

                        4.8       Radio call signs for aircraft involved in a search and rescue operation

                        4.9       Social media

Chapter 5        System management
                        5.1       Understanding the SAR system

                        5.2       Planning processes

                        5.3       Organization

                        5.4       Resources

                        5.5       Leadership and operations

                        5.6       System assessment

                        5.7       Dealing with the media

Chapter 6        Improving services

                        6.1       Managing for success

                        6.2       Reducing system problems

                        6.3       Applying risk management

                        6.4       Cooperating to improve services

                        6.5       Reducing response time

                        6.6       Mass rescue operations

                        6.7       Multiple aircraft SAR operations

                        6.8       Research and development

                        6.9       Other factors

The primary purpose of the three volumes of the International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue Manual (IAMSAR Manual) is to assist States in meeting their own search and rescue (SAR) needs, and the obligations they accepted under the Convention on International Civil Aviation, the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue, 1979 and the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974 (SOLAS). These volumes provide guidelines for a common aviation and maritime approach to organizing and providing SAR services. States are encouraged to develop and improve their SAR services, cooperate with neighbouring States and to consider their SAR services to be part of a global system.


Each volume of the IAMSAR Manual is written with specific SAR system duties in mind, and can be used as a standalone document, or, in conjunction with the other two Manuals, as a means to attain a full view of the SAR system. Depending on the duties assigned, it may be necessary to hold only one, or two or all three volumes.


The Organization and Management volume (Volume I) discusses the global SAR system concept, establishment and improvement of national and regional SAR systems and cooperation with neighbouring States to provide effective and economical SAR services.


The Mission Coordination volume (Volume II) assists personnel who plan and coordinate SAR operations and exercises; and The Mobile Facilities volume (Volume III) is intended to be carried aboard rescue units, aircraft, and vessels to help with performance of a search, rescue, or on-scene coordinator function and with aspects of SAR that pertain to their own emergencies.


This manual is published jointly by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO). This edition of the manual includes amendments adopted by the following MSC circulars:


Circular number Adoption by MSC Entry into force


MSC/Circ.999 MSC 74: June 2001 1 July 2002

MSC/Circ.1044 MSC 75: May 2002 1 July 2003

MSC/Circ.1080 MSC 77: June 2003 1 July 2004

MSC/Circ.1124 MSC 78: May 2004 1 July 2005

MSC/Circ.1173 MSC 80: May 2005 1 June 2006

MSC.1/Circ.1181 MSC 81: May 2006 1 June 2007

MSC.1/Circ.1249 MSC 83: October 2007 1 June 2008

MSC.1/Circ.1289 MSC 85: December 2008 1 June 2009

MSC.1/Circ.1311 MSC 86: June 2009 1 June 2010

MSC.1/Circ.1367 MSC 87: May 2010 1 June 2011

MSC.1/Circ.1415 MSC 90: May 2012 1 July 2013

MSC.1/Circ.1513 MSC 95: June 2015 1 July 2016

MSC.1/Circ.1594 MSC 99: May 2018 1 July 2019


A new edition is published every three years. The 2019 edition includes the 2018 amendments (adopted by ICAO and approved by IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee at its ninety-ninth session in May 2018 by means of MSC.1/Circ.1594), which became applicable on 1 July 2019. The amendments were prepared by the ICAO/IMO Joint Working Group on Harmonization of Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue and were endorsed by the IMO Sub-Committee on Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue (NCSR) at its fifth session in February 2018.

As a specialized agency of the United Nations, IMO is the global standard setting authority for the safety, security and environmental performance of international shipping. Its main role is to create a regulatory framework for the shipping industry that is fair and effective, universally adopted and universally implemented.

In other words, its role is to create a level playing field so that ship operators cannot address their financial issues by simply cutting corners and compromising on safety, security and environmental performance. This approach also encourages innovation and efficiency.

Shipping is a truly international industry, and it can only operate effectively if the regulations and standards are themselves agreed, adopted and implemented on an international basis. The IMO is the forum at which this process takes place.

Title: IAMSAR Manual, Volume I. Organization and Management IJ960E (2019 Edition)
Number of Pages: 150
Product Code: MM1067K
ISBN: ISBN 13: 9789280116991, ISBN 10: 9280116991
Published Date: August 2019
Book Height: 300 mm
Book Width: 210 mm
Book Spine: 7 mm
Weight: 1.80 kg
Author: IMO

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