“Help Me Think” – Creating Effective on Scene Coordination During Search and Rescue
Other conference contribution, 2019

Maritime Search and Rescue (SAR) can be described as trying to solve an enigma. A life-threatening situation and shortage of time creates the backdrop for a variety of factors, known or unknown, that makes the solving of the enigma everything from easy to complex. This paper discusses the success factors for efficient search and rescue operations focusing on the action on scene. A structed observation followed by an analysis of two identical, but geographically divided exercises, conducted on the Swedish west coast, constitutes the results of this paper. The scenario for the exercises was that a few lobster fishermen was reported missing after an evening pleasure excursion. The paper gives an account of the exercises and lists lessons identified by the participants. The analysis of the exercises is focusing on the on scene coordination and we use the concept of joint activity to describe the coordinated behavior during SAR operations. The analysis exemplifies how search and rescue personnel achieves or fails to achieve effective coordination, looking in detail at three primary requirements. The ad hoc team, consisting of search and rescue specialists and or mariners on board ships of opportunity being close to the scene and able to assist, created for the SAR operation have to be interpredictable, they have to have sufficient common ground, and they have to be able to redirect each other. We use our understanding of these features of joint activity to develop training programs and adjust procedures making SAR more efficient with the goal of saving lives.


Lars Axvi

Chalmers, Mechanics and Maritime Sciences (M2), Maritime Studies

Fredrik Forsman

Chalmers, Mechanics and Maritime Sciences (M2), Maritime Studies

World Maritime Rescue Congress
Vancouver, Canada,

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