IMRF launched its #WomenInSAR initiative at its World Maritime Rescue Congress (WMRC) in June 2019.

This project aims to increase the representation of women in the maritime sector generally and to provide support for, and raise the profile of, women in the maritime Search and Rescue (SAR) sector specifically. This IMRF initiative supports the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Empowering Women in Maritime initiative.

The current huge gender gap in the maritime sector is well-documented, as “women represent only two percent of the world’s 1.2 million seafarers” (source: IMO). 

Although there is currently no hard data on  maritime SAR, all available anecdotal evidence suggests that the position is no different: women are greatly under-represented across maritime SAR, in both volunteer and paid positions. 

Since the launch of the project we have:

Introduced the IMRF #WomenInSAR Award, one of the annual IMRF Awards. This Award is presented to an individual who is an inspirational role model for women and girls in maritime SAR. Our inaugural award was won by Isobel Tugwell, from the RNLI Shoreham Lifeboat Crew.
Held the first all-women maritime SAR training in Morocco in November 2019 in conjunction with the IMO. 12 women from across Africa completed this training.
Circulated the IMRF #WomenInSAR Newsletter.

We have exciting plans for our #WomenInSAR initiative, with more details to be announced in the Autumn. In the meantime, if you would like to be kept updated on our latest news you can sign up to our newsletter.