Theresa Crossley, the CEO of the IMRF, will be retiring next year and so the Trustees are now seeking a suitable successor to take on this challenging role, once Theresa steps down.

Dear Applicant,

The Trustees are delighted that you are interested in the International Maritime Rescue Federation and our Chief Executive opportunity.

Many thousands of people in distress in the world’s waters are rescued every year by maritime search and rescue (SAR) organisations, but still too many perish: an estimated 236,000 each year according to the World Health Organization.

Many of these deaths could be prevented with more effective maritime SAR coordination and response. To help tackle this challenge, we bring the world’s maritime SAR organisations together in one global - and growing - family, and provide the international voice for maritime SAR at the highest level with consultative status at the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

IMRF’s member organisations share their lifesaving ideas, technologies and experiences and freely cooperate with one another to achieve their common humanitarian aim: “Preventing loss of life in the world’s waters”.

By cooperating, through IMRF, with their fellow rescue organisations around the world, maritime SAR services can cost-effectively share the burden of developing rescue capability to meet ever-growing challenges, while learning from the ideas and experiences of others.

Our ambition is for the IMRF to build on its impact and reach to be recognised as the leading maritime SAR representative and collaborative organisation by all government institutions with responsibility for providing SAR services and by SAR response organisations across the world.

This is an opportunity to play a leading role within an international community that will require you to not only lead an international NGO, but to challenge, engage and influence governments and relevant agencies of the United Nations.

We’re interested in hearing from passionate, ambitious people who not only have strong strategic leadership skills, but who are also able to get involved in an operational capacity as the IMRF secretariat is still a small organisation. Critically, you will need to bring an experience of influencing and enabling people from different cultures and circumstances to work together towards a shared goal.

If you are excited by the possibilities and feel you have the motivation, skills and experience to help us to save more people from drowning across the world, I’d really like to hear from you.

Yours Sincerely, 

Dean Lawrence

Chair - International Maritime Rescue Federation


Too many people lose their lives in the world’s waters: an estimated 236,000 each year according to the World Health Organization.

There is a need for greater political awareness of this major issue. Many of these deaths could be prevented by more effective maritime SAR coordination and response.

The IMRF exists to help achieve this aim.

Established in 1924 as the International Lifeboat Federation, the International Maritime Rescue Federation was incorporated in 2003 under UK Charity Law. As a worldwide charitable body, we focus on preventing loss of life in the world’s waters.

We work with government and non-government SAR organisations to achieve this.

123 organisations in 53 countries are currently members of the IMRF and are working together to reduce the loss of life.

The membership includes many different types of SAR coordination and response organisations from around the globe (government and non-government, paid and volunteer), as well as commercial organisations and equipment manufacturers with an interest in maritime SAR.

Our Work

The IMRF is established as a charity under English law. Our objects are to prevent loss of life, to promote safety and to provide relief from disaster at sea and on inland waters throughout the world by, in particular (but not limited to):

  • Promoting cooperation, exchange of information, research and development, advice and consultancy between maritime search and rescue services of the world.
  • Encouraging and promoting the formation and development of maritime search and rescue services throughout the world.
  • The promotion to members of public education and awareness regarding safety on water.

Internationally, regionally and nationally we lead the drive for improved maritime SAR coordination and response to save more lives, acting as a neutral, independent and apolitical facilitator.

IMRF has targeted a number of key projects that will improve safety and rescue response for those heading out on the water.

Representing Maritime SAR Internationally

We continue to use our consultative status at the IMO to encourage practical regulation and guidance, that will improve safety and SAR response globally.

The IMRF is the only organisation at the IMO solely focused on improving maritime search and rescue.

Recently we successfully lobbied to maintain the status of maritime SAR as a main agenda item at the IMO.

The IMRF works closely with the IMO secretariat and member States to improve maritime SAR and especially to complete the Global SAR Plan, the essential network of facilities for maritime SAR coordination across the world, providing a consistency of response. 

Building SAR Capability

Unfortunately, water users in many developing regions do not yet have adequate safety and emergency services available to them.

They depend heavily on their waters for food and transportation and risk their lives every day just trying to survive.

In partnership with the IMO, maritime SAR training has been facilitated by the IMRF and our member organisations in Africa, and maritime SAR courses and regional development meetings have been held in the Asia-Pacific region.

Mass Rescue Operations

Our work on maritime mass rescue operations highlights a challenge that needs attention at all levels: international, national, regional and local. Such operations are a challenge for both developed and developing countries. Maritime SAR organisations, shoreside emergency responders, maritime industries, planners and regulators – including the IMO – are all key players.

Through on-line resources and a series of conferences, courses and workshops across the world, the IMRF has a programme for improved planning and preparation which will ultimately mean that when a large-scale rescue response is required, there should be better preparedness and a reduction in lives lost.

Lifeboat Crew Exchange Programme

By cooperating, through the IMRF, with their fellow rescue organisations around the world, maritime SAR organisations can cost-effectively share the burden of developing rescue capability to meet ever-growing challenges, whilst learning from the ideas and experiences of others.

During the COVID 19 pandemic, this program was taken online and has proven to be a very successful initiative.

Financial Matters

The IMRF has continued to raise the profile of the organisation to increase membership and improve the proposition for support through sponsorship and donations.

Income for the financial year ending December 2022 was predominantly made up of membership income and subscriptions, income from the IMRF Bookshop, and some corporate and major donations.

The new Chief Executive will need to continue to build membership and grow and diversify our financial supporter base to enable us to deliver on our commitment to improve global SAR capability. 

Role Profile

Title: Chief Executive
Location: Requires regular travel to London
Working Hours: 37 hours per week (Full Time), but with some scope for flexibility for the right candidate.

Reports to Board of Trustees, through the Chair.

Direct management responsibility for IMRF Secretariat Staff.

Also responsible for managing external consultancy services provided by HiClass Accounting (Finance Manager) and Navigate PR (Communications Manager) and others as required.

Providing or Coordinating support services to the Trust Board.

Overall Purpose

  • Develop and raise IMRF’s profile, grow sustainable income streams, and drive the organisation towards the goal of being globally recognised as the ‘NGO subject matter expert on maritime SAR’.
  • Build and lead IMRF’s organisational voice and reputation and help to amplify the voice of all members and the wider maritime SAR community.
  • Provide strategic and operational leadership and implementation that will enable IMRF to meet its goals.
  • Lead and develop an advocacy strategy and represent the IMRF to a range of global stakeholders, including relevant major institutions, national governments and member organisations.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Leadership and Management
    • Lead the development of organisational strategy, priorities and direction setting, working closely with Trustees.
    • Ensure that appropriate resources and operational systems are available to turn strategy into reality.
    • Ensure the IMRF promotes collaboration and ambition across its membership by providing the right services, projects and information that support members to achieve their mission.
    • Build a culture internally and across the membership that is inclusive, encourages input, values opinions and is motivating, supportive, caring and constructively critical.
    • Drive IMRF forwards with new ideas, technology and innovation.
    • Provide strong leadership and management to the staff team.
    • Communicate the context within which IMRF operates through storytelling and effective marketing.With a good understanding of various media channels
    • Be creative in identifying growth opportunities for the organisation.

  • External Relationships and Influencing
    • Act as an ambassador and advocate for the organisation demonstrating high levels of credibility, and a sensitivity to how different cultures operate together.
    • Raise the organisation’s profile and influence globally with all maritime SAR services.
    • Establish new and strengthen existing relationships that build organisational voice and reputation.
    • Maintain and develop strong relationships with existing and potential members, particularly in relation to growing our work in the developing world.
    • Lead an advocacy strategy that ensures IMRF demonstrates positive outcomes to its members and influences global policy.
    • Support and facilitate IMRF members’ ability to cooperate and exchange information.
    • Take a lead role in the World Maritime Rescue Congress and IMRF Quadrennial General Meeting.

  • Governance
    • Build and facilitate high standards and good relationships with Trustees, seeking their input and support for strategic plans and other Trustee level decisions, as well as ensuring they meet their legal and statutory governance duties and responsibilities.
    • Provide appropriate and accurate management information and other guidance to the Board of Trustees to ensure they have a clear and accurate understanding of the health and performance of the organisation and are able to take informed decisions.
    • Support the Chair in ensuring the continued engagement and development of all Trustees.
    • As appropriate, monitor and advise on the composition of the Board, its committees and the process of self-assessment and development.
    • Ensure high standards in ethical behaviour at all levels in the organisation, commensurate with that expected of a registered charity.

  • Finance, Fundraising and Income Generation
    • Produce the annual budget for Board approval and ensure regular forecasts.
    • Maintain robust financial controls, risk management systems and sound administrative processes.
    • Develop and grow the organisation’s income generation capacity.
    • Proactively diversify funding sources and strengthen relationships with current donors.


Essential Skills, Knowledge and Experience:

  • Experience of strategic leadership in an organisation where growth and advocacy are key features.
  • Demonstrable experience of developing and executing organisational strategy.
  • Experience of effectively advocating and influencing a diverse group of stakeholders.
  • Ability to affect national and international policy through effective advocacy.
  • Experience of facilitating people from different cultures to work together effectively.
  • Demonstrable experience of organising people and events and/or being an effective facilitator.
  • Experience of challenging traditional ways of thinking.
  • Experience of increasing income from a range of sources.
  • Knowledge of how to leverage social media and use technology to support an organisation’s mission.
  • Track record of achieving outcomes and making change happen.
  • Good people management skills.
  • Powerful and believable communicator in one-to-one and group situations, verbally and in writing.
  • Able to undertake international travel as and when needed.
  • Fluent in English.
  • Has right to work in UK/EU.


  • Ambitious, passionate self-starter.
  • Strong presence/gravitas.
  • Comfortable with ambiguity, but with a strong sense of ethics and propriety.
  • Able to demonstrate innovative, solutions-based thinking even when the challenges seem substantial.
  • High levels of ‘emotional intelligence’ - can empathise and manage relationships with others.
  • Able to be sensitive to how different cultures operate together.
  • Willing to get involved in day-to-day activity to make things happen.
  • Genuine desire to prevent loss of life in the world’s waters.
  • Comfortable with not having a physical office base, frequent international travel and not having a major expenses allowance.


  • Experience of advocacy and influencing policy at international level.
  • Knowledge of the maritime SAR sector at a global level and/or the shipping sector.
  • Knowledge of political processes in the EU, UN and other relevant institutions.


To apply, please forward a comprehensive CV together with a supporting statement (maximum two pages of A4).

You should give the names, positions, organisations and telephone contact numbers of two referees, relevant to this role.

References will only be taken once your express permission has been granted.

Finally, please ensure that you have included mobile, work and home telephone numbers, as well as any dates when you will not be available, or might have difficulty with the recruitment timetable.

Applications should be e-mailed to Mr Jacob Tas, Trustee IMRF at [email protected].

Recruitment Timetable

  • Deadline for Applications: 4 November 2022
  • Online Interviews with Selection Panel: 7 to 12 November 2022
  • Final Interviews with IMRF Board: 16 November 2022


If you wish to have an informal discussion about the opportunity, please contact our IMRF Chair, Mr Dean Lawrence on WhatsApp +64 274 925 937, or Theresa Crossley at [email protected].