Maritime Affairs

Galileo Search and Rescue

Galileo Search and Rescue

Galileo Search and Rescue


The Galileo satellite navigation programme which was launched in December 2016 offers a new service which is aimed to help Search And Rescue (SAR) operations.

The maritime sector represents about 75% of the search and rescue operations conducted each year, not only for big vessels but also for leisure nautical activities or scuba diving.

Thanks to Galileo, the distress detection and position localization is reduced from up to more than three hours and 10 kilometres to less than 15 minutes and 2 kilometres, not only helping to save lives, but also reducing the risks for the rescue crew.

Cospas-Sarsat is an international satellite system for Search And Rescue (SAR) distress alerting. The System provides distress alert and location information of Cospas-Sarsat 406 MHz beacons to national Search And Rescue (SAR) services throughout the world for maritime, aviation and land users in distress.

The advantages of the modern Galileo SAR service with regards to older systems are:

  • Near instantaneous global coverage (<10 min for localisation)
  • Increased positioning accuracy (<5 km for location accuracy)
  • High level of satellite redundancy (no line of sight obstruction)

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