The people of Spain have a rich heritage of dependence upon the ocean and its bounty — along with a commitment to assist those who brave its depths, and find themselves at its mercy. Vertical 911 recently visited the helicopter crews of the Salvamento Marítimo in Valencia, on Spain’s southeastern coast, to learn more about how they help those in peril on the sea.
The story of Spain’s maritime search-and-rescue (SAR) organization starts in Hamburg, Northern Germany, in 1979, at the SAR ’79 convention of the International Maritime Organization.
It was the first time that an international plan had been developed to coordinate the rescue of persons in distress at sea. It divided the world’s oceans into contiguous but non-overlapping SAR regions, and it vitalized Spain’s efforts to consolidate its approach to maritime emergency response.