Determining the SAR category (1 or 2)

Page updated: 16 November 2020

New Zealand has two categories of SAR operations.

Category 1 operations are locally coordinated

Category 1 operations usually involve local resources and people who are familiar with the area. Examples of this kind of SAR operation include:

  • land searches
  • subterranean searches
  • river, lake, and inland waterway searches
  • close-to-shore marine searches (usually within 12 nautical miles of New Zealand)

The New Zealand Police (call 111) is the coordinating authority for all Category 1 SAR operations.

Category 2 operations are nationally coordinated

Category 2 opreations usually involve national or international resources. Examples of this kind of SAR operation include:

  • searches for missing aircraft or aircraft in distress
  • searches for emergency locator beacons that have been activated
  • off-shore marine searches within New Zealand's search and rescue region.

The Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (call 0508 4 RCCNZ or 0508 472 269) is the coordinating authority for all Category 2 SAR operations.