Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, the husband of Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal, has been named the Patron of the International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF), the world’s leading organisation for developing and improving maritime search and rescue (SAR) capabilities.

He replaces Sir Efthimios Mitropoulos, the Secretary-General Emeritus of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), who stepped down earlier this year, having been in the role since 2012.

Sir Tim holds a distinguished career as part of the UK’s Royal Navy, serving from the early 1970s upon leaving the University of Durham before retiring in 2010. His strong interest and background in maritime led to him being appointed to the Governing Council of the UK’s Royal National Lifeboat Institution in 2004, then to the Trustee Board and Chairman of the Operations Committee in 2011. He later became Deputy Chairman of the RNLI Board and, on retirement from the Board in 2020, became a Vice President.

As Patron, Sir Tim will become a leading voice and advocate for the work of the IMRF and maritime SAR organisations around the world, which continues to play a critical role in protecting and saving lives at sea.

“It is an honour to be appointed the new Patron of the IMRF, and I look forward to working closely with the organisation, its members and SAR personnel worldwide to advance the cause of safety at sea,” Sir Tim said.

Speaking about the appointment, Jacob Tas, Chair of the IMRF, said, “I am delighted that Sir Tim Laurence has accepted our invitation to become the new Patron of the IMRF. His tenure at the UK’s Royal Navy and his dedication to public service means he will be a fantastic supporter of the IMRF’s global work and the critical importance of maritime SAR organisations globally.”

Caroline Jupe, Chief Executive Officer of the IMRF, said, “The IMRF and its membership continue to play a major role in the maritime SAR sector as we look to prevent loss of life in the world’s waters. I am thrilled that Sir Tim has agreed to join the IMRF community as our new Patron, and I’m excited to see how we can work together to bolster the maritime SAR sector, tackle critical issues facing the sector and advance key initiatives to improve the lives of those working in a challenging industry.”

In addition to its work providing guidance and best practice for SAR operations, the IMRF has also launched a number of critical initiatives to improve the wellness and efficiency of SAR personnel, including its #WomenInSAR campaign, its #SARyouOK? mental health initiative and its #FutureSAR climate change awareness campaign.