IMRF Lifeboat Crew Exchange 2019 The European Lifeboat Crew Exchange was initiated in 2012 to bring together volunteers from European lifeboat organisations to train together, hosted by the participating groups, and it continues to be a success and grow. IMRF Key Messages Collaboration and experience sharing is key to improving Maritime Search and Rescue (SAR) responses to prevent loss of life in the world’s waters. The European Lifeboat Crew Exchange Programme is a great example of how nations through their volunteer crews can exchange knowledge on best SAR practice. The Crew Exchange provides the perfect platform for crews to experience simulated SAR exercises, recount their personal experiences of rescue situations and learn new techniques and skills as part of the IMRF family. The volunteer crews on the course – who give hundreds of hours of their spare time and save hundreds of lives in their home waters – are drawn from various European countries. They spend 7 intensive days with their counterparts, improving their professional knowledge and experience, ultimately leading to a better response to rescues across the continent. With IMRF co-ordination, these fellow rescue organisations from around Europe can cost effectively share the burden of developing rescue capability to help meet the ever growing challenges in European waters by learning from the experiences of others. Vocational training of rescue volunteers has to be thorough and intensive to ensure those going out have the core competencies required. Co-operation between countries with different skills – a key remit of the IMRF – enables specialisations to be translated into best practices. Each organisation operates its own training programmes, because of the specialist activities they carry out and every country because of its own characteristics – climate, environment and so on – has developed best practice training methods which will be exchanged at an operational level as part of the crew exchange program. Any improvement will help save more lives in European waters and, through the IMRF, across the world. The next European Lifeboat Crew Exchange Programme will be from 21 September to 28 September 2019. Thinking about joining the Exchange Programme? Click here to find out how.