Message from the Chief Commissioner

Search and Rescue

Sat 1 October 2016


SAR_P9100060_Snow%20search SAR_IMG_8616_Rock%20climb SAR_NE_WA168144B_Diver%20entering%20water SAR_P1450500_Snowmobile

History of the squad

The Search & Rescue Squad was formed in 1957 after several unsuccessful searches for missing people in remote areas. Initially, the Squad consisted of five men with considerable bush experience, whose role was to control and coordinate bush searches.

In 1958 members were trained in diving by the Royal Australian Navy and from this time onward the Squad became responsible for underwater searches. These searches included the search and recovery of deceased persons, stolen property, weapons, court evidence, motor vehicles and other objects.

The Search & Rescue Squad became fully operational in 1962 in response to the increasing demand for its services.

The current skill set of a trained Search & Rescue Squad operative is varied and highly skilled. Changes in technology and an increase in the number of people involved in outdoor activities across the state mean that the squad is in increasing demand.

The Search and Rescue Squad has a wide range of capabilities that include:

  • Specialised search and rescue service in bush, alpine, cliff, confined space and underwater environments
  • Diving operations where we search for many different things including cars, evidence, boats and people
  • Investigations of dive related incidents
  • Investigation assistance into high risk activities such as rock climbing
  • Removal of protestors who have attached themselves to any vehicles, structures or fixed objects
  • Training and support for frontline police


Some of the equipment we are trained to use include:

  • Dive Support truck (DST) - 18 Tonne purpose built truck to support our diving operations. This truck can operate independently and remotely across the state
  • Purpose built crane truck (used to carry SAR Recompression Chamber)
  • Recompression Chamber (RCC)
  • 4WD equipped vehicles - all fitted with recovery gear, chains, winches, slings along with 1st aid equipment and PPK.
  • Over-snow vehicles, including snow mobiles and an ARGO all-terrain vehicle
  • Vessels - 2 x 6 Metre RHIBS and 2 Inflatable boats
  • Communications/Coordination equipment
  • Vertical Rescue equipment
  • Bushwalking equipment
  • Alpine specific equipment - including ski's, snow shoes, tents and avalanche transceivers
  • Diving equipment - including SCUBA, SSBA gear, dry suits, wetsuits and underwater sonar equipment



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