Search and Rescue

Search and Rescue (SAR) companies operate at sea and on land to aid those who need assistance. This can involve situations ranging from a mountain climber in distress, to a boat crew in danger at sea.

SAR is often a co-ordinated effort with other services and assists in many differing types of emergencies such as injury, missing persons, and recovery from natural disasters. Sometimes, companies who offer SAR services also provide other essential work to Government and even transporting workers to offshore sites.

It is also possible as a civilian employee to also work with the Military via MOD (Ministry of Defence) contracts. SAR aircraft are fitted with the latest technological assistance for the pilot and crew to successfully locate people in need, including infra-red, search radar and night vision. These well-equipped aircraft operate in almost any weather.

Where does it happen?

There are many strategically positioned SAR bases all over the country to successfully cover all areas.

An individual base may cover more than one county – for example Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance is a combined effort. Some larger bases will have more than one aircraft that they can deploy and will utilise them based on the distance of the emergency from the base.

How can you get involved?

Typically SAR services will use helicopters, so getting your PPL (H) and then the commercial helicopter licence would be the first place to start before applying for a job.

Increasingly, SAR will include all sorts of other aircraft to assist its operations – some companies are adopting the usage of unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) and looking at the potential for electric aircraft to provide a more climate friendly approach to rescue.

How can you progress in this career?

Many of these companies have bases in other countries so you could have the opportunity to explore and be based outside of the UK.

Good to know…