SAR, or as it is more commonly known, Search and Recuse, has been around for centuries in one form or another. Each modern-industrialized country has a slight variation of SAR but they all boil down to the same thing: SAR, most broadly speaking, is the rescue of any person or persons in some form of distress from which they cannot remove themselves without some form of assistance.
One of the earliest documented cases of a Search and Rescue attempt occurred in the late 1600s when a dutch ship became stranded off the coast of Australia. Thankfully things have progressed in modern history. In the 1940s, a Sikorsky helicopter recused five sailors off of a barge before the barge sank, using a makeshift hoist and pulley system to pull the sailors out alive. Fast forward to Hurricane Katrina where countless lives were saved due to Search and Rescue crews and there have also been many other successful smaller scale rescues that have occurred in the Moder Era.
The type of Search and Rescue conducted, and the personnel and equipment used vary according to the terrain and the situation. Somebody may be lost in the mountainous woods of Colorado whereas another person may have been kidnapped in a heavily populated urban center like New York.
Perhaps the best-known form of Search and Rescue is the kind that involves water and aircraft. Yes, we are talking about the infamous Search and Rescue Swimmers.
These members of the United States military are amongst the fittest and strongest in the entirety of the Army and Navy. The movie The Guardian (starring Sean Connery and Ashton Kutcher) popularized these swimmers even more. And while The Guardian may not be considered "the movie of the century" or Oscar-worthy, it nonetheless gives the viewer a pretty good idea of the job.
And the job can be as grueling as depicted in the movie. Swimmers must undergo rigorous training courses and they must be able to swim in waves and strong ocean currents. Interestingly enough, the Rescue Swimmers of the U.S. Military are amongst one of the few military organizations that allow women to serve. To be clear though, women are not given a separate set of goals and standards they must meet; rather they are expected to meet the standards of the men.
Search and Rescue is most commonly associated with the Navy but the truth is, is that many organizations at the State and Federal are responsible for SAR activities. In most states, many of the day-to-day operations are actually handled by the Sheriff (extra resources from other organizations may be called in) and in some states, the highway patrol.. In other countries, however, Search and Rescue teams are a part of the Navy. While countries may do things their own way, it's safe to say that if you are in a bad situation but you're under the care and supervision of the Navy and Search and rescue, you'll probably be ok! Stay safe and always be on the lookout for danger!