Norway’s geographical location, its extremely long coastline, large commercial and tourist traffic as well as numerous installations at sea for exploration and production of oil and natural gas, make special requirements for search and rescue. Marine rescue has been based on voluntary involvement for centuries, and at the end of 19th century Norsk Selskab til Skibbrudnes Redning association was established known currently as Redningsselskapet.
Search and Rescue (SAR) today is a fully integrated system, subordinated to the Ministry of Justice. It consists governmental organizations (police, emergency medical services, fire department, coast guard, civil defense, armed forces) and numerous volunteer organizations which assist in SAR operations. This system covers both onshore and offshore areas, however marine SAR is described here.
SAR operations at sea are coordinated by the Rescue Centers (Hovedredningssentralene) at Sola near Stavanger (area up to the parallel 65° N) and in Bodø (north of 65° N). Coastal radio stations in Tjøme, Farsund, Rogaland, Bergen, Floro, Ørlandet, Bodo, Vardø and on Svalbard are responsible for communication at sea.
Squadron 330 is a key element of SAR. It has headquarters at Sola and divisions at Rygge, Floro, Ørland, Bodø and Banak. The squadron is equipped in twelve Sea King helicopters which are currently being replaced by AugustaWestland AW101 model.
SAR is complemented by voluntary organizations, in particular Redningsselskapet (RS) association. RS has more than fifty rescue vessels stationed along the coast of Norway. The vessels can be mobilized for rescue operations, otherwise they provide assistance on Norwegian costal waters. Leisure boat owners can buy annual subscription in which assistance that does not exceed three hours is included.
In distress (in addition to the standard means like VHF channel 16, EPIRB, DSC, etc.) one may call following numbers:
120 – coast station emergency number (Kystradio)
51 51 70 00 – Rescue Center (Hovedredningssentralen) Stavanger
75 55 90 00 – Rescue Center (Hovedredningssentralen) Bodø
112 – emergency number
Redningsselskapet can be reached for assistance on 02016.