The European Regional Meeting of the International Maritime Rescue Federation will take place in Mariehamn, Åland Islands, Finland from 28-30 October 2015, and it will come as no surprise that strategies to cope with the Mediterranean migrant crisis will be high on the agenda.

These meetings are held annually and provide a forum for discussion on the challenges facing maritime Search and Rescue and an opportunity for organisations to share knowledge and information on how they are addressing these challenges. The meeting is open to members and non-members, who are involved in maritime SAR.

The IMRF has canvassed its members for topics of discussion and has settled on two areas that will be covered in two sessions:

MRO Crisis in the Mediterranean - How Can We Help, What Can We Learn?
The ongoing challenge to SAR in the Mediterranean is impacting on all of Europe with no end in sight to the flow of people heading across the water putting themselves at risk. IMRF has a panel of speakers, who will provide a picture of what is happening, including the work of Frontex, the first hand experiences on the water and the melding of governmental and non-governmental efforts. The delegates will break into groups to discuss how SAR services across Europe could help and look at what SAR lessons can be learned from this unprecedented situation.

Increasing European co-operation between SAR Organisations
SSRS CEO and former IMRF Chairman and Trustee is quoted as saying: "There is no competition in maritime rescue, except with the elements. Cooperation is the key, locally, nationally and internationally."

This session looks at how we can improve the flow of information and the collaboration on common projects and initiatives between the European SAR Organisations. Too often the IMRF says it comes across great ideas and initiatives that are being duplicated across organisations so there could be a better way of sharing this information and knowledge.

To help with the discussions the organisers have invited presentations on areas that provide a great opportunity for this type of collaboration to occur. Find out more at .

By Jake Frith