The World Maritime Rescue Congress (WMRC) 2023, taking place in June in Rotterdam, is an opportunity for search and rescue (SAR) practitioners and organisations, as well as industry experts, technology developers and governments, to join together and share experience and best practice, as well as set the course for the future of maritime SAR.

For Jacob Tas, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at The Royal Netherlands Sea Rescue Institution (KNRM) and Vice Chair of the IMRF Board, WMRC 2023 offers an opportunity for SAR organisations to collaborate in a way unlike any other.

Once every four years, the IMRF manages to gather SAR practitioners and organisations around the world in one location to share our work and experiences for the benefit of the entire maritime SAR community. Not only do we take this opportunity to reflect but also to look forward,” said Jacob.

Taking place on-board SS Rotterdam in the heart of the city, WMRC 2023, which is jointly hosted by the IMRF and KNRM, is set to offer a number of talks, discussions and presentations on the issues affecting the maritime SAR sector, with sustainability a leading subject throughout the three-day event.

The interactive sessions are going to be a personal highlight for me,” Jacob noted. “Collaboration is also at the core of what we do. I’m also looking forward to meeting the global SAR community and building our network of SAR personnel during the event.

WMRC 2023 will be the fifth iteration of the congress, following similar events in Sweden in 2007, China in 2011, Germany in 2015 and Canada in 2019. It will also be the largest in-person event in the maritime SAR community calendar since the Covid-19 pandemic took the world online.

Although we were able to adapt to working remotely where possible over the past few years, nothing quite beats the impact of in-person events like WMRC,” Jacob said. “Peer-to-peer interaction remains a vital part of our industry in order for us to continue expanding the capabilities of SAR organisations around the world.”

The congress is also set to include a unique showcase of the international fleet of lifeboats on the Nieuwe Maas river in the centre of Rotterdam. Jacob is hoping to demonstrate the full force of the international and KNRM’s fleet of rescue vessels here.

I am very much looking forward to seeing the modern and historic lifeboats on display during the congress. Many of our fellow SAR organisations have a rich history on which their current operations are based and we cannot wait to recognise that history. The lifeboats will be on display throughout the event so crew members can mingle and share their experiences with each other and congress attendees,” he said. 

Jacob also noted how KNRM and the IMRF have had a strong and close relationship for a number of years and that their collaboration continues to be important for the maritime SAR community.

The relationship between KNRM and the IMRF is essential. We can learn a lot from the international SAR community and vice versa. We want to help, assist and share our experiences with other SAR organisations. Our collaboration with the IMRF allows us to do that and I couldn’t be prouder to jointly host WMRC 2023 with them,” he added.

Tickets for WMRC 2023 are now available and IMRF members have access to an exclusive discount until 17 March 2023. Click here to find out more about this year’s congress and how to register: