If 2021 was a year of continued postponements and cancellations when it came to in-person events, then 2022 was a return meeting in person as the maritime search and rescue (SAR) community came back together once again.

Following more than two years of delays, the IMRF was finally able to host the fifth iteration of its Mass Rescue Conference, G5. Taking place in Gothenburg, Sweden, in June 2022, the event finally brought the maritime SAR community together for an innovative three days comprising  a live exercise, discussions and presentations to improve the best practices and capabilities of SAR organisations during mass rescue operations.

Immediately after, the IMRF hosted its third Maritime MRO Subject-Matter Expert Course. The course offered a unique blend of discussions and practical exercises to widen local, regional and global MRO planning and execution.

Our live events in 2022 were not just isolated to MROs. In August 2022 the IMRF hosted its first-ever #WomenInSAR Training & Seminar Event in Turku, Finland, as part of our ongoing #WomenInSAR initiative.

The #WomenInSAR Training & Seminar, held in conjunction with the Finnish Lifeboat Institution, included a number of seminars on the role of women in SAR organisations, as well as a women-only training session that gave participants the opportunity to learn practical and real-life operational skills.

With the #WomenInSAR initiative reaching a crescendo, the IMRF proudly launched its #SARyouOK? initiative to raise awareness and break down the stigma that is attached to mental health and wellbeing in the maritime SAR sector.

The #SARyouOK? initiative will play a huge role in our work in 2023 as we look to develop guidelines and best practices for SAR organisations around the world.

At its core, the IMRF was also able to continue its work providing new and updated frameworks for maritime SAR organisations around the world throughout 2022, all of which are available to download for free. This included:

The IMRF was also proud to host a number of webinars this year. Not only did we host our European Regional Meeting across two meetings in October and November, we also hosted a special webinar focused on dealing with potential contamination during specialist SAR operations, which included presentations from members the Finnish Border Guard and the Hellenic Rescue Team.

The IMRF’s ongoing Global SAR Development – Africa project also continued this year. The IMRF ran a number of online training courses for more than 24 African countries in 2022, including SAR Admin and Management and On-Scene Coordinator Courses, to improve the understanding and scope of maritime SAR capabilities, including communications, best practices and equipment.

We also welcomed four new members in 2022.

There is also much to look forward to in 2023. Caroline Jupe, Head of Fundraising & Projects, will take over as the IMRF’s new Chief Executive Officer in February 2023 and will continue the hard work and stewardship of Theresa Crossley who had been CEO since November 2017.

The IMRF also has its fifth World Maritime Rescue Congress taking place in June 2023 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. WMRC 2023, held in collaboration with KNRM will focus on building a sustainable maritime SAR, offering participants an insight into the innovations and technologies that will affect the environmental impact of maritime SAR in the future.

Not only that but the IMRF will continue to highlight the incredible work of the maritime SAR community, offering news, interviews and podcasts on all of our members and their amazing teams. That includes the IMRF Awards, which this year had another set of winners and nominations from across the globe. We also awarded Captain Isa Noah Amwe from Nigeria this year’s People’s Choice Award for his incredible work during a number of SAR operations over the last year. We look forward to bringing the awards back next year to continue to highlight the incredible work being done by SAR personnel around the world.

The past 12 months have showcased the importance of working and coming together for the greater good of the maritime SAR industry. While the important work of the IMRF continued amid pandemic-related restrictions, being able to work even more closely together in person will only benefit the vital role the IMRF plays in the global SAR community.

2023 is set to be another incredible year for the IMRF and we look forward to sharing our plans for the New Year with you soon. If you are interested in becoming a member of the IMRF and finding out more about all of the benefits, click here to find out how to join.