The IMRF kicked off its 100th anniversary with its annual Forward Look webinar, which took a detailed look at the achievements of the organisation over the past 12 months, as well as a look ahead to an action-packed and exciting 2024.

The webinar, which was held on 17 January, was co-hosted by CEO Caroline Jupe and Alex Barrell, an IMRF Trustee and Commissioner of Marine Rescue NSW in Australia. Other speakers included Roly McKie, the IMRF’s IMO Representative; Jaakko Heikkilä, the IMRF’s International Programme Manager; Clay Evans, an IMRF Trustee, maritime historian and former member of the Canadian Coast Guard; and Herby Meth, Head of the Ascension Island Sea and Land Rescue Service.

Launching the Forward Look webinar, Caroline noted some of the tremendous success the IMRF has achieved in 2023, including the World Maritime Rescue Congress (WMRC) in June 2023 that brought together more than 500 members of the maritime SAR community for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic. She also highlighted the ongoing success of the IMRF’s campaigns and initiatives, its work to support African SAR organisations, and the IMRF’s expanding membership.

Clay then spoke about how important 2024 is to the IMRF as it marks the organisation’s 100th anniversary. As a leading maritime historian, Clay has taken a significant interest in the founding and ongoing developments of the IMRF, which began at the International Lifeboat Conference in 1924. He has been spearheading the IMRF's Centennial History Portal, a series of articles that looks at the history of the IMRF and the international maritime SAR sector, which you can access here.

Roly then spoke about his ongoing activities with the IMO, as well as what he has in store for 2024, including being a part of the IMO MASS Working Group on SAR requirements and capabilities. Roly also highlighted the ongoing work of the IMRF’s Global Maritime SAR Forum, which meets monthly to discuss current, new, or proposed technologies, processes, procedures, skills, techniques, training, lessons, and experiences with a view to sharing information to improve SAR.

Next, Jaakko took a detailed look at the calendar of activities for the IMRF in 2024. This includes extensive work on the IMRF’s ongoing #SaferSAR and #FutureSAR campaigns, as well as some of the in-person events taking place, such as the Lifeboat Crew Exchange, the #WomenInSAR training event and the 2024 Annual Meeting in Greece. Joining the webinar as a special guest speaker was Herby from Ascension Island, who spoke about the importance of IMRF membership to his organisation and the challenges of building resilience in the face of isolation, a challenge that the Ascension Island Sea and Land Rescue Service is no stranger to.

The full webinar is now available to watch in its entirety below. If you are interested in learning more about the IMRF’s activities or joining us as a member, please be sure to get in touch with our team here or check out our ongoing events calendar.