One of the United States Coast Guard's oldest missions is that of Search and Rescue (SAR). The main goal of the each Search and Rescue mission is minimizing the loss of life, injury, property damage or loss by rendering aid to persons in distress and property in the maritime environment.
To help better serve the entire United States, the National SAR Plan divides the U.S. area of SAR responsibility into internationally recognized inland and maritime SAR regions.
The Coast Guard is the Maritime SAR Coordinator. To meet this responsibility, the Coast Guard maintains SAR facilities on the East, West and Gulf coasts; in Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, and Puerto Rico, as well as on the Great Lakes and inland U.S. waterways.
The United States Coast Guard is recognized worldwide as a leader in the field of search and rescue.
In 1997 the Coast Guard responded to over 52,141 Search and Rescue calls. Of these rescues, 3,836 lives were saved and the Coast Guard's effectiveness for lives saved have been more than 90% effective since 1990. They had a 93% effective rate in 1997.