The IMRF’s #FutureSAR initiative identifies the key challenges the global maritime search and rescue (SAR) industry will face due to climate change. It proposes guidance and best practices to aid rescue operations in the future. As part of this, we spoke with Jacob Tas, Chair of the IMRF and Chief Executive Officer at the Royal Netherlands Sea Rescue Institution (KNRM) in the Netherlands.

Jacob stated that climate change poses a significant challenge, mainly due to its impact on the operational conditions of SAR personnel. Additionally, as members of civil society, SAR organisations, including KNRM, are keen not to worsen climate change. They recognise a profound responsibility to avoid exacerbating the situation and are committed to taking every possible measure to combat climate change. Since the KNRM frequently operates within nature reserves, where environmental preservation is crucial, minimising emissions becomes a paramount concern.

The threat of rising sea levels is particularly concerning for KNRM, considering the locations of its lifeboat stations. Moreover, unpredictable weather conditions, including rapid changes, rain, hail, and altered weather patterns, will potentially increase the number of cases of people getting into serious trouble and could complicate future SAR operations. Jacob emphasised the importance for all SAR organisations to assess their environmental impact, measure their contribution to climate change, and strategically plan effective measures to mitigate and reduce their environmental footprint.

For more information on the #FutureSAR initiative, please click here: https://www.international-maritime-rescue.org/futuresar.