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RCCNZ Organisational Capability. Marine SAR. Chris Henshaw Search and Rescue Officer, RCCNZ. 17 May 2010. Primary Function. To Coordinate Category II Search and Rescue activity in New Zealand’s Search and Rescue Region (NZ SRR). What are we.

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Rccnz organisational capability

RCCNZ Organisational Capability

Marine SAR

Chris Henshaw

Search and Rescue Officer, RCCNZ. 17 May 2010

Primary function
Primary Function

  • To Coordinate Category II Search and Rescue activity in New Zealand’s Search and Rescue Region (NZ SRR).

What are we
What are we

  • A Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC)

  • Maritime, Aviation and Land

  • 24 / 7

  • Search and Rescue Officers (SARO’s) trained to international

maritime and aviation SAR standards (IAMSAR)

What we do
What we do

  • Co-ordinate SAROP’s (CAT II) at a national level in the NZ SRR. Typically these are blue water marine, aviation and distress beacon related operations (Note: Police are responsible for co-ordinating CAT I incidents)

  • Provide search and rescue (SAR) services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year

  • Work with over 100 rescue services and related agencies nationwide plus more than 10,000 SAR personnel and volunteers

  • Coordinate and liaise with international SAR agencies


  • At all times (24/7), a minimum of two Search and Rescue Officer’s (SARO’s) are on duty to coordinate a Search and Rescue operation

  • Any SARO can undertake the Search Mission Controller’s role (equivalent to the Incident Controller’s role under CIMS) during an incident

  • Additional RCCNZ staff, Police, NZDF, LandSAR and Diplomatic personnel are available in the event of a requirement to “scale up” during an incident

  • SARO’s can undertake any of the CIMS management roles


  • RCCNZ Staff have a wide range of skills and experiences, commercial and recreational, to underpin their SAR knowledge

Maritime - Commercial (blue water, international), Defence, Coastguard, private vessels

Aviation - RAF, RNZAF, RAAF, private pilots license, Commercial

Land - Police, Defence, LandSAR

Communications – Radio Operators


  • Each SARO has access to a wide range of SAR assets with which to effect timely, safe and efficient rescues (examples are)

Defence – RNZAF (P3 Orion, Helicopter), RNZN (IPV’s, OPV’s,)

Commercial – Helicopters, Fishing and Cargo vessels,

Volunteers – Coastguard, LandSAR, Radio Operators



Computer systems and software (e.g. SARMAP)

Resources sarmap
Resources - SARMAP

  • SARMAP is a computer package which utilises real time tidal and wind information to model drift characteristics of MOB, drifting vessels/objects. Used to assist in planning and determining search areas.


  • is a tool

  • uses real time info

  • proven

  • used in conjunction with local knowledge


  • Tasking of appropriate SAR assets (aircraft, helicopters, vessels, personnel, fire, ambulance) to an incident without unnecessary delay

  • Search area determination planning (SAD’s) for marine incidents - local and international - support to Police / NZDF / Coastguard

  • Tracking of SAR Assets (e.g. AIS, TracPlus, Spidertracks)

Types of incidents
Types of Incidents

  • 406 Beacons (EPIRB, PLB, ELT)

  • Blue water maritime

  • Medivac’s from offshore vessels

  • Coastal and close to shore SAROP’s in conjunction with Police

  • Marine SAROP’s in NZ’s SRRTonga – Princess Ashika: Kiribati – missing fisherman (SAD planning for RNZAF)

  • Aviation – aircraft missing or in distress

  • Incidents handed over by Police

Photo courtesy of NEST

Hen and Chicken Islands (May 2009)

Alarm raised through the activation of a 406 EPIRB

Rescue Coordination CentreNew Zealand