Why Do We Need the Guidelines?

To provide a supporting tool to motivate, and enable users to develop and improve their service.


Isn't This Just for Europe?

No. The guidelines are about pooling resources, and enabling all organisations to learn from one another.


What Benefit Is This to Us?

They are based on operational risk and apply to all MSAR operators. We are all in the risk business.

  Implement a Safety Management System (parts 1 & 2);
Use the guidelines to adopt international best practice;
Use references and examples to minimise effort;
Reduce duplication of work across organisations;
Clarify legal status;
Validate training and procedures;
Review equipment;
Develop & improve services.

How Much Will It Cost Us?

There are no direct costs, and the Guidelines are not mandatory. The Guidelines should save money by providing industry best practice, and policies from a number of different organisations, saving on man-hours. The cost of accidents are always higher, than the cost of safety.


We Are Already Regulated in Our Country. How Will This Help?

The guidelines could help you in a number of ways, depending on your current regulations.


Why Is the Guidelines Not Specific in Terms of Requirements?

The guidelines provide best practice based on risk assessment of MSAR operations and will facilitate discussions with the National Administrations, which could lead to better regulation.

The guidelines has been written using a goal based approach. This enables individual organisations to solve problems in their own fashion, and allows for innovative ideas.

Also, what works for one organisation, may not work for another and we do not wish to force inappropriate solutions onto any members.


How Will It Be Implemented in Our Country/Organisation?

That is up to you, in liaison with your National Administration.


Who Owns the Guidelines?

The members of IMRF own the guidelines.


How Does It Work?

Firstly, it is not mandatory. Parts 1 & 2 are based on the implementation of a Safety Management System.

Part 3 and 4 are a web-based application, which provides tailored guidance with linked examples to allow you to find appropriate solutions to managing your operational risks.


Will the Guidelines Have a Legal Effect?

The guidelines will almost certainly have an effect. You may wish to open a discussion with your national administration. However this is likely to be used during an accident investigation by the relevant authorities.


Are the Guidelines IMO Approved?

No. It is planned to seek IMO recognition, but not formal adoption.


How Do I Provide Input to the Guidelines?

There will be a number of opportunities to provide feedback during any of the IMRF Events in the future. You can also provide us feedback by contacting us at [email protected].


Why Aren't the Guidelines a Book?

The guidelines are designed to be used by a wide range of organistions, Chapter 1 & 2 are available as a .pdf to print. Part 3 and 4 will be a web based application (to large to print).


How Can I Turn the Advice Into What I Need?

It is hoped that, eventually, the guidance will have multiple links to different organisations solutions to the risks outlined, providing a number of options, or your organisation can mitigate the risks in your own way.


Who Will be Responsible for the Guidelines Upkeep?

The IMRF will be responsible for providing the resources to enable this.


Who Has Created the Guidelines, and What Are Their Qualifications?

It has been created by a working group of members of the IMRF supported by external experts and commented on by some national administrations.


Who Will Check or Authorise the Guidelines?

Member organisations will have checked and authorised the guidelines before publication.


Why Do We Need to Change Anything?

Incidents can be instantly connected to the outside world – this image was on the internet within minutes of it happening.

Society expects more of the services around it – fatality and injury is much less acceptable than before. There have been massive increases in regulation across most sectors – not all of it good.

We do not wish to be subject to fast, knee-jerk regulation. We can all improve through sharing our knowledge and experiences – through improving efficiency, innovative solutions or learning from experiences.


I Don't Have the Resources to Check Through This and Document Everything. How Will I Cope?

The guidelines provide a number of examples of how other organisations solve the problems identified greatly reducing any work you may need to do.


Can This Save Me Money?

In the longer term - see "How Much Will It Cost Us?" above.


If I Follow the Guidelines, Am I Legally Protected?

Organisationally you will have a stronger position if you follow the guidelines. However, the Guidelines have no legal standing.


What If There Are Parts of My Operations Not Covered by the Guidelines?

If you follow parts 1 & 2 of the guidelines you should be lead through a process of identifying gaps in your safety arrangements.

The guidelines are not exhaustive, and cannot cover all risks to be faced at sea. There is a consistent reference to training and developing dynamic risk assessment capabilities in operational crew in the guidelines.


What If I Cover All the Tick Boxes on the Operations Matrix?

The matrix is designed to be used at a level for individual vessel. Organisations with more than one vessel will need to complete the matrix more than once for different operations.


We Are a Lifeguarding Operation Only. Are We Not Covered Under the ILS Requirements?

The guidelines will reference appropriate ILS documentation anyway. They will also provide guidance on other best practice form the MSAR community.


How Much Wore Work Is There to Do on the Guidelines?

The guidelines are intended to be a living document. There will always be work to be done to keep it up to date.


We Would Like to Begin a SAR Service. Where Do We Start?

Contact the IMRF Secretary/Regional Coordinator.


How Many Languages Will the Guidelines Be Available In?

Initially it will be in English, but hopefully we will be able to translate the Guidelines in other languages, depending on the demand, in the future.


Won't the Guidelines Lead to Unnecessary Regulation?

The guidelines are based on principles, not rules. Any decision on regulation will be up to the National Administration.


Won't a Safety Management System Stop Me Carrying Out My Operations?

No, it should enable you to carry out your operations in a safer more effective manner.


Maritime SAR Operations Are Risky, Won't This Get in the Way of Helping People at Sea?

No, there is a consistent reference to training and developing dynamic risk assessment capabilities in operational crew in the guidelines.


There Are More Risks at Sea Than You Can Identify in a Risk Assessment. How Does This Help?

If you follow parts 1 & 2 of the guidelines, you should be lead through a process of identifying gaps in your safety arrangements.

The guidelines are not exhaustive, and cannot cover all risks to be faced at sea.

There is a consistent reference to training and developing dynamic risk assessment capabilities in operational crew in the guidelines.


My Boats Aren't of High Standard (or Cost). Won't This Put Me Out of Business?

No, this will enable you to review your operations and run a safer MSAR service.


How Often Will the Guidelines Be Updated?

The intention is for it to be reviewed at least every 4 years, if not yearly. A request for review system will be implemented.


Will My Boats Need to be Surveyed and Certificated, and Who Will Pay?

It shouldn't - It will work more like the ISM guidelines. However, you may want to open a discussion with your National Administration.


Will I Have to Change My Equipment?

Possibly. The guidelines will lead you to carry out a risk based review, which may identify improvements/changes.


Will I Have to Change my Training?

Possibly. The guidelines will lead you to carry out a risk based review, which may identify improvements/changes.


Will My Crews Need to be Certificated?

Not certificated. However, trained to a certain provable level. Ultimately this will be up to the National Administration.


Do the Guidelines Comply With ISO or Other Risk Standards?

They have not yet been assessed against ISO 31000. However, the risk assessment has been carried out in an IMO/ISO recognised manner.


What Has Been Covered in the Risk Assessments?

The risk assessments have been carried out to cover the main marine emergencies and generic MSAR operations.