Swift Water / River Search & Rescue Volunteer

Our RiverSAR volunteers are highly skilled in the white water environment, must be able to think quickly on their feet and keep a level head in stressful situations. Safety is paramount.

You will be highly confident in working in and around swift water. You work daily in this environment or can demonstrate that you recreationally participate in white water activities to a high level.

You will have a reasonably high level of fitness, and swimming ability. Call outs can happen at any time of the day or night, so being used to working in cold water is a must. You must be self-reliant and a huge team player.

Commitment & Training

Swift Water/River Search & Rescue volunteers are called upon to conduct search and rescue operations at any time of the day or night. You, your whānau, and your employer should all be comfortable with this possibility.

Land Search and Rescue provides a variety of training for Swift Water/River Search & Rescue volunteers. Some of it is provided by professional tutors organised at a national level by Land Search and Rescue and some of it is provided by your local group.

With water being such a dynamic environment to work in training is important. Techniques to rescue or search for someone are ever evolving which means training regularly with your team is a priority. Regular training also builds the confidence and trust of each other within your team.

The frequency and duration of training will depend on your local group, but most groups train at least once a month, and a couple of weekends a year.

Swift Water/River SAR teams are located in Upper South Island (Tasman Swift Water), Westland (Hokitika), Canterbury and Mackenzie, and Aspiring National Park and Fiordland (Wanaka).


Role Description

Water is very a dynamic environment to work in, and the operations that the River SAR teams get called out for are varied. Operations can be anything from a submerged car in a swollen river, regional flooding from a weather event, or helping a local Land Search and Rescue team sweep rivers and waterways for a missing person.

Register your Interest


Make sure you discuss joining SAR with your employer before signing up. Some work places allow special leave for SAR operations, others may require you to use your own leave. Discuss the process for notifying your boss when you are called out on a search.

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Land Search and Rescue acknowledges the huge commitment made by the whānau of our volunteers. Without family support, many of our volunteers would be unable to dedicate their time. Please share this information with your whānau.

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Ready to play your part?

Get in touch with your local Land Search & Rescue group…

Register your Interest

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