IAMSAR Manual - Volume III Mobile Facilities 2019 Edition (IJ962E)

Published Date

May 2019

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IAMSAR Manual - Volume III Mobile Facilities 2019 Edition (IJ962E)

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This publication is designed to provide guidance on the performance of a search, rescue or on scene coordinator function.

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This publication is designed to help with performance of a search, rescue or on scene coordinator function. Topics covered include:


  • Distress alerts and messages
  • medical assistance
  • planning and carrying out a rescue
  • underwater search and rescue and rescue on land
  • training.


It also includes Action Cards covering:


  • Basic communications plan structure
  • on scene coordination
  • recovery of people in the water
  • man overboard
  • MEDEVAC by helicopter
  • MEDICO-MEDEVAC Medical assistance or evacuation.


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


Section 1: Overview of the SAR system

Section 2: Distress alerts and messages

Section 3: Medical assistance

Section 4: Vessel emergencies at sea

Section 5: Aircraft emergencies

Section 6: Initial action by assisting vessels

Section 7: Initial action by assisting aircraft

Section 8: On-scene communications

Section 9: On-scene coordinator

Section 10: Multiple aircraft SAR operations

Section 11: Aircraft coordinator

Section 12: Searching

Section 13: Rescue action plan

Section 14: Rescue or assistance by vessels

Section 15: Rescue or assistance by aircraft

Section 16: Vessel/helicopter operations

Section 17: Underwater search and rescue

Section 18: Rescue on land

Section 19: Intercepts

Section 20: Survivors

Section 21: Deceased persons

Section 22: Public relations

Section 23: Training


Appendix A: Regulation V/33 of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974, as amended

Appendix B: Search action message

Appendix C: Factors affecting observer effectiveness

Appendix D: Standard format for search and rescue situation report (SITREP)

Appendix E: SAR briefing and debriefing form

Appendix F: Own emergency

Appendix G: Rendering assistance

Appendix H: Multiple aircraft SAR operations


Action cards


The primary purpose of the Mobile Facilities volume (volume III of the International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue Manual (IAMSAR Manual)) is to assist vessels and aircraft in the performance of a search, rescue or on-scene coordinator function and with aspects of search and rescue (SAR) that pertain to their own emergencies. It is intended to be carried on board rescue units, aircraft and vessels.


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 becomes 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.


The Manual is published jointly by the International Civil Aviation Organization and the International Maritime Organization.


The IAMSAR Manual is subject to copyright protection under ICAO and IMO. However, limited reproducing of forms, checklists, tables, graphs and similar content is allowed for operational or training use.


Each IAMSAR Manual volume is written with specific SAR system duties in mind, and can be used as a stand-alone 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.


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 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, to cooperate with neighbouring States and to consider their SAR services to be part of a global SAR system.

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 III Mobile Facilities 2019 Edition (IJ962E)
Number of Pages: 261
Product Code: MM1066K
Published Date: May 2019
Binding Format: Hardback Spiro
Book Height: 230 mm
Book Width: 197 mm
Book Spine: 35 mm
Weight: 0.85 kg
Author: IMO

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