IAMSAR Manual, Volume II – Mission Coordination (2019 Edition) KG961E (eBook)

Published Date

August 2019

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IAMSAR Manual, Volume II – Mission Coordination (2019 Edition) KG961E (eBook)

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This publication is designed to assist with the planning and coordination of search and rescue (SAR) operations and exercises.

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IAMSAR Manual, Volume II – Mission Coordination is a guide to planning and coordinating SAR operations and exercises. Topics covered include:


  • Communications and safety systems (including distress communications and emergency beacons)
  • incident planning and response
  • search techniques and operations
  • conducting multiple aircraft SAR operations
  • concluding SAR operations.


Appendices include forms, checklists, tables, graphs and worksheets designed for daily use by rescue coordination centre staff.


This 2019 edition incorporates amendments adopted by ICAO and approved by the IMO Maritime Safety Committee, which entered into force on 1st July 2019.


Abbreviations and acronyms



Chapter 1: The search and rescue system
Chapter 2: Communications
Chapter 3: Awareness and initial action
Chapter 4 Search planning and evaluation concepts
Chapter 5: Search techniques and operations
Chapter 6: Rescue planning and operations
Chapter 7: Multiple aircraft SAR operations – General guidance
Chapter 8: Emergency assistance other than search and rescue
Chapter 9: Conclusion of SAR operations



Appendix A Distress communications

Appendix B Message formats

Appendix C Mass rescue operations: exercises, industry roles and incident management

Appendix D Uncertainty phase data

Appendix E Alert phase data

Appendix F Distress phase checklist

Appendix G Facilities and equipment selection

Appendix H Operation briefing and tasking forms

Appendix I SITREPs and MAREC Code

Appendix J Intercepts

Appendix K Determining datum

Appendix L Search planning and evaluation worksheets

Appendix M Preparing initial probability maps

Appendix N Tables and graphs

Appendix O Ship reporting systems for SAR

Appendix P Functional characteristics to consider with computer-based search planning aids

Appendix Q Sample problem

Appendix R Medical assistance at sea, TMAS – TMAS Medical information exchange form

Appendix S Search planning for 121.5 MHz distress beacon alerts

Appendix T Checklists and guides for multiple aircraft SAR operations

Appendix U Mobile telecommunications device location process



The primary purpose of the three volumes of the International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue 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, and the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (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 SAR system. Each IAMSAR Manual volume is written with specific SAR system duties in mind, and can be used as a standalone document, or, in conjunction with the other two volumes, 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 functions, and with aspects of SAR that pertain to their own emergencies.

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. And IMO is the forum at which this process takes place.

Title: IAMSAR Manual, Volume II – Mission Coordination (2019 Edition) KG961E (eBook)
Product Code: MM1476EA
Published Date: August 2019
Author: IMO

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