Published by two United Nations agencies--the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO)--the IAMSAR manual contains evidence-based guidelines that aviation and shipping search-and-rescue teams can use to enhance the success of their missions. The primary purpose of the IAMSAR is to provide specific guidance regarding potential cooperation between aviation and maritime rescue operations that are coordinated and effective. Since most search-and-rescue efforts involve deployment of both aircraft and boats, the IAMSAR manual emphasizes the ability of teams to smoothly synchronize their planning efforts.
Three volumes comprise the IAMSAR manual. Volume I discusses organization and management of search-and-rescue missions. Volume II provides guidance for coordinating missions. Volume III deals with mobile facilities.
In Volume III, "mobile facilities" refers to individuals, devices and equipment that must be stored on board by ships and aircraft designated to carry out search-and-rescue missions. Mobile facilities should be able to undertake and complete SAR operations while adopting an on-scene leadership role. Volume III further details all aspects of organization, communication and search protocols that must be incorporated in any plan of action. How to safely and correctly evacuate a ship or aircraft in the event of an extreme emergency is also detailed in Volume III of the IAMSAR manual.