International Lifeboat Federation

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the independent charity for national search and rescue (SAR) operations, such as Australia's Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol, Britain's RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution), and the US Coast Guard, whose common aim is lifesaving on the world's waters. The first international lifeboat conference was held in London in 1924 and has been held every four years since then. Participation has grown significantly from the eight delegations which attended the first conference, to a current (2004) 89 organizations from 62 countries.

Over the years, the ILF has played a central role in the development of maritime rescue and it continues to be the primary vehicle for the exchange of technology and experience in maritime search and rescue. Members freely share experiences and research, and help one another to build better rescue craft, to provide better training for rescue crews, and to improve SAR techniques.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) recognizes the ILF as the global representative of the world's maritime search and rescue providers. It is regarded by IMO and by its sister organization, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICOA), as a key partner in the achievement of their joint plan to deliver consistent aeronautical and maritime SAR coverage around the globe. To achieve this the ILF is promoting the establishment of new SAR organizations in parts of the world where adequate services are not yet available and is providing practical assistance where necessary.

The ILF has a fourteen-member council which advises the charity's trustees on matters of technical and developmental policy, and this is developing a new constitution for the federation which is expected to be formally ratified at the next conference, in Gothenburg, in 2007.

See also global maritime distress and safety system.

See also global maritime distress and safety system.

Subjects: Maritime History.

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