The mission of the Civil Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA)
is to support Canada’s Search and Rescue (SAR) program and to
promote SAR Awareness.
When lives are in danger, CASARA volunteers are ready to provide assistance. 2,800 volunteers nationwide with access to 360 aircraft are called upon to search for individuals who are lost or in distress.
CASARA was formed in 1986 to provide a national volunteer organization to provide air search assistance to the Royal Canadian Air Force and to promote flight safety for general aviation.
The Civil Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA) will continue to evolve and support the Canadian Search and Rescue (SAR) and SAR Awareness Programs through leadership, continuous training of its volunteers and education of the general aviation community.
CASARA and PEP (Air) cooperate to provide a volunteer air search capability in British Colombia. PEP (Air) contributes funding for training and equipment and the Royal Canadian Airforce provides training expertise and funds for operational searches. Search tasking for CASARA comes from the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre or the Emergency Measures BC Control Centre in Victoria, BC.
CASARA in British Columbia is organized into provincial zones. The Nanaimo area is part of the Vancouver Island Zone. The Nanaimo CASARA area operates with three private aircraft from an established search headquarters office at the Nanaimo Airport. We have approximately 25 volunteers as pilots, navigators, spotters, radio operators, or search headquarters staff.
All our certified members receive training in search techniques, skills, and use of equipment that will enable them to function in their specific roles. We meet monthly for training and briefings. Training exercises are regularly conducted to maintain certification and skills development.
Operational air searches and ground homing of electronic emergency beacons occur throughout the year. We respond to search requests for missing aircraft or to work cooperatively with provincial ground search units to provide air-search capability. We also provide air search capability for the coast guard in marine searches. Our members are certified to act as spotters on military aircraft.
Applicants must be a minimum of 19 years of age. Applicants must also have normal color vision, 20/20 normal vision uncorrected or corrected by prescription lenses, and be free from any chronic medical condition that requires regular medication.