National Search and Rescue Manual

National Search and Rescue Manual

Edition 1, February 2021

The National Search and Rescue Manual is the standard reference document for use by all search and rescue authorities and other organisations that provide search and rescue services in Australia. It outlines the agreed methods of coordination through which search and rescue operations are conducted within Australia. The manual is consistent with the relevant International Conventions to which Australia is party. Available online only, this is the latest edition.

Available by section

For ease of reference, follow the quick links. The date of the most recent amendment is shown.

Preliminaries Last updated
Front Cover February 2021
Table of Content February 2021
Foreword February 2021
Introduction February 2021
Defence Letter of Promulgation February 2021
Acronyms and Abbreviations February 2021
Glossary February 2021
Volume 1 – Search and Rescue Administration February 2021
Chapter 1 Search and Rescue System Organisation February 2021
Chapter 2 Search and Rescue Management February 2021
Chapter 3 Training and Exercises February 2021
Volume 2 – Search and Rescue Operations February 2021
Chapter 1 Communications February 2021
Chapter 2 Awareness and Initial Action February 2021
Chapter 3 Search Planning and Evaluation February 2021
Chapter 4 Search and Rescue Techniques February 2021
Chapter 5 Rescue Planning Operations February 2021
Chapter 6 Conclusion of Search and Rescue Operations February 2021
Chapter 7 Medical Factors February 2021
Appendices February 2021
Appendix A Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) on National Search and Rescue Arrangements  February 2021
Appendix B National Search and Rescue Responsibilities and Functions February 2021
Appendix C National Operational Procedure for Transfer of Coordination for Land SAR Incidents February 2021
Appendix D-1-10 February 2021
Appendix E-1-17 February 2021


The NATSAR Manual is reviewed and updated through an annual amendments program. Amendments can be proposed throughout the year, which are then reviewed and approved by the NATSAR Council at the annual meeting. All approved amendments can be viewed in the amendment history below.

To propose an amendment please download and complete the required fields within the Manual Amendment Schedule and email to the Secretariat.