Assessing the Location of Search and Rescue Stations on the Portuguese Coast
The compliance, by a signatory country, with the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue (SAR) requires maintaining adequate means of search and rescue at sea. An important component of such infrastructure is the life-saving stations, distributed along the coast and equipped with human resources and equipment, such as lifeboats. The assessment of the best geographical location of life-saving stations (LSS) can be carried out considering multiple criteria. Among them, one can mention: the proximity to areas historically associated with the occurrence of accidents; the maritime traffic pattern in the waters under surveillance; the severity of accidents (in terms of loss of human life and environmental impact of accidents); the typology and cause of the recorded accidents, as well as, the technical characteristics of the lifeboats assigned to life-saving stations (e.g., autonomy, speed). This work aimed to assess the adequacy of the current geographic distribution of the resources of the maritime rescue system on the Portuguese coast, and specifically the location of the life-saving stations, considering the history of the number of accidents at sea. For this purpose, spatial analysis tools were used to compare georeferenced information on the location of the LSS, as well as the autonomy of the lifeboats assigned to the stations, with maritime accidents occurred in their proximity in recent years. The aim was to assess the lifeboats’ degree of coverage compared to the location of maritime accidents registered. In addition, the work also aimed at eliciting the functional requirements of a decision support system for maritime search and rescue .
KeywordsGeographic information systems Spatial analysis Study of location Maritime accidents Search and rescue
The work was funded by the Portuguese Ministry of Defense and by the Portuguese Navy/CINAV.
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