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Search & Rescue Personnel

SARA is a volunteer organisation.  We always welcome new volunteers – full training is given so no experience is necessary. Most members have to fit training and call-outs around their jobs and families, so work and home commitments are not a problem.

As well as operational team members, we also have non-operational members.  They provide vital assistance with fund raising, publicity and other specialist tasks.  Because of our diverse roles, we provide a range of opportunities and experiences found in no other organisation.  you will get the opportunity to put your training into practice supporting your local community.

Application Form

If you are interested in becoming a member, please fill in an application form and either email or post it to us

Application form for membership

Operational Membership

The sole qualification for SARA membership is a genuine desire to help and assist with our aims.  However, operational members must be at least 18, and able to walk 5 miles in two hours – you do not need to be super-fit!  Boat crew also need to able to swim.

SARA operational crew are usually trained initially as either lifeboat crew or land search team members.  Most stations offer one or the other; at Beachley one can train as either.  This initial training usually lasts around 6 months, and coincides with a period of ‘probation’ for full membership of the organisation.

Following qualification as operational crew, members should continue to train in that discipline on an ongoing basis.  They may also then extend their training to other disciplines which the Station provides, such as rope rescue, or towards levels of leadership such as Team Leader or Boat Helmsman.  SARA trains to nationally recognized standards, and where relevant the training includes achieving formal external qualifications.

Some trainee crew join with relevant skills or knowledge, for example from rock climbing or sailing, but others learn all the skills at SARA.  Trainees may not always be confident tying knots or using the radio, but with suitable training and one-to-one coaching, team members are soon confident.

Specialist and Fundraising Members

If you don’t think operational duties are for you, but would still like to assist, we also have specialist members who help with fundraising, publicity and training. Others help with communications or equipment maintenance, and may go on callouts to work in the temporary HQs we set up.

From our experience, all volunteers have something that they can contribute to the unit. However small, their efforts are always acknowledged and rewarded.


As a professional and expert organisation, we expect all members to come to training on a fairly regular basis, but this does not mean every Thursday evening and Sunday morning.  Our members are volunteers and have other lives to live. Family and employer must often come before the unit.

The initial training is fairly intensive, and usually lasts 5-6 months with training scheduled twice a week.  There are catch-up sessions through the programme though, since no-one can be expected to attend every session.   Once trained, team members are required to train in each of their rescue ‘disciplines’ at least once a quarter, in order to remain operational.

We do ask that members attend live incidents whenever possible – this is what their training is provided for. Incidents during the working day are always a challenge. Some members are able to leave work to attend a ‘shout’ – a launch, a search or another callout – others may be able to assist at a later stage.   The callout comes by text message, and lifeboat crew also carry pagers.  We also ask that members occasionally assist with the unit’s fund-raising activities. These are usually at weekends. 

Fundraising members will need to commit to supporting at least 6 events a year. 


Like all volunteer organisations, SARA must continually recruit and we are always looking to increase our membership. If this is of interest please contact us, and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Application form for membership

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