Our Organisation

The International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF) is the international non-governmental organisation (NGO) working to develop and improve maritime search and rescue (SAR) capacity around the world, improving maritime SAR capability worldwide.

The IMRF brings together the world's maritime SAR organisations and has both voluntary and governmental organisations as members. As well as capacity building, the IMRF also has an advocacy role, providing an international voice for its members.

It is the only maritime SAR NGO with consultative status at the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Our Work

facilitates cooperation; 
and the exchange of information, research and development, advice and consultancy between maritime search and rescue services around the world; 
encourages and supports the formation and development of new maritime search and rescue services; 
provides training in maritime search and rescue operational skills, including those required for a Mass Rescue Operation (MRO), and;
promotes public education and raises awareness of the importance of safety on the water.

The World Health Organization (WHO)1 estimates that 372,000 people drown every year.

That means that, on average, one person drowns every 85 seconds, or more than 40 people around the world drown every hour – and the WHO figures do not include all of the lives lost in the world’s waters.

The WHO also reports that Africa and Asia-Pacific account for almost 90% of drowning deaths, while the IMRF’s own research has found that 93% of ferry accidents and 97% of associated fatalities occur in developing countries.

Many of these deaths could be prevented by improved maritime SAR services, which is why the work of the IMRF is so important.

Our Mission

The International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF) brings the world's maritime search and rescue organisations together in one global - and growing - family, having consultative status with 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: "Improving Maritime SAR Capability Worldwide".

Maritime emergency search and rescue services are provided free of charge to those in need. Without a direct revenue stream from their work, maritime search and rescue organisations depend heavily on external funding to maintain these vital lifesaving services: either on scarce government funding, or, in many cases, on the charitable generosity of the public at large.

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

For more information about the International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF), view our Activity Reports page.