The IMRF has announced the winners of this year’s IMRF Awards, which recognise all those involved in global maritime search and rescue (SAR) efforts.

The IMRF Awards acknowledge those that have shown excellence in their field, developed innovative technology and equipment, or acted as a role model to inspire others. The awards also shine a light on those colleagues who offer the tireless support, training, and planning that enables SAR crews to do what they do, safe in the knowledge that they are all part of the same team.

The winners of this year’s IMRF Awards are:

  • Henry Ategeka from the Ministry of Works and Transport in Uganda won Outstanding Individual Contribution to Maritime SAR Operations. Henry oversaw the establishment of a fully-fledged Maritime Department in the Ministry of Works and Transport and is spearheading the establishment of nine SAR centres and a Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre in Uganda.

  • Ramsgate Lifeboat Station, RNLI in the United Kingdom won Outstanding Team Contribution to Maritime SAR Operations. The RNLI’s Ramsgate Lifeboat Station has been recognised for saving 42 lives from a small boat crossing the Channel in extremely difficult weather conditions. The mission was high intensity and was ultimately successful due to the teamwork of the crew and their extraordinary seamanship and skill.   

  • Inmarsat Maritime Safety Team won the award for Innovation & Technology in Maritime SAR. Inmarsat has been honoured for its RescueNET system, a free service facilitating fast, reliable and approved SAR communications to promote better coordination among MRCCs. The system has already helped to foster improved relationships between SAR organisations in different countries. 
  • Amber Sheasgreen from the Royal Canadian Maritime Search and Rescue (RCMSAR) won the #WomenInSAR Award, sponsored by HamiltonJet. Amber Sheasgreen serves as Operations Manager for RCMSAR where she advocates for active recruitment of female crew. Amber has pushed to diversify RCMSAR promotional materials to dispel the perception that SAR is a male-orientated activity and has set up a programme to showcase RCMSAR and how women can get involved at female community-centric events. 
  • The Vladimir Maksimov Award for Lifetime Achievement in Maritime SAR, sponsored by Inmarsat, has been jointly awarded to Geoffrey Denman from the Canadian Coast Guard and Anders Bagge (post.) from the Swedish Sea Rescue Society (SSRS). Geoff’s 38-year career at the Canadian Coast Guard involved orchestrating hundreds of SAR exercises from one-day events to enormous, complex, intergovernmental and international exercises, and most recently he created Mass Rescue Operation plans for ports up and down the Pacific coast. During his 30-year career with SSRS, Anders saved thousands of lives and passed his knowledge to thousands of aspiring coxswains and SAR personnel around the world, as well as taking part in the SSRS mission to the Aegean to save the lives of those crossing between Turkey and Greece.

The IMRF also acknowledges the runners up of the 2023 awards, including Xu Fan, Beihai Flying Rescue Service in China; Coastguard Waiuku in New Zealand; the NSRI’s Beach Safety Camera Network; and Jelena Simović from the Mountain Rescue Service (MRS) Republic of Srpska, Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Click here to read about all of this year's winners and runners up.

IMRF CEO Caroline Jupe said, “The IMRF Awards are a way of highlighting the incredible work done by SAR personnel and organisations each and every day around the world. This year’s winners are a testament to the level of dedication and passion the individuals bring to our community, bringing professionalism and pride in their duty. Every year we receive dozens of incredible nominations and this year was no exception. I want to extend my congratulations to everyone who was nominated for the IMRF Awards for their tireless efforts, as well as our incredible membership for their dedication to maritime SAR every single day.”

The IMRF would also like to extend its thanks to this year’s awards sponsors for their continued support:

Inmarsat, sponsor of The Vladimir Maksimov Award for Lifetime Achievement. Inmarsat is the world leader in global mobile satellite communications and has been providing safety communications at sea since its inception by the International Maritime Organization in 1979 (

HamiltonJet, sponsor of the #WomenInSAR Award. The company’s waterjet and control systems deliver manoeuvrable, reliable and safe prolusion for SAR vessels. HamiltonJet has worked with the maritime SAR sector for many decades, making and developing waterjet propulsion systems which can dramatically increase the range of conditions a SAR boat can operate in (