Severn Area Rescue Association (SARA)
The Severn Area Rescue Association (SARA) is a lifeboat and inland search and rescue organisation which operates 5 rescue stations covering the River Severn and the surrounding areas from Newport to Kidderminster. It has around 150 operational team members, all volunteers, many covering multiple disciplines including land search and cliff rescue. In 2017 SARA responded to 138 separate incidents, many during the hours of darkness.
SARA operates 5 inshore lifeboats on the tidal waters, together with a number of rescue craft which can be deployed as needed. The organisation was heavily involved with the Gloucestershire floods in 2007, in which Tewkesbury was inundated and the Abbey became an island. SARA has deployed to all major flood incidents nationwide since the DEFRA system was established, and currently provides 4 Type B rescue teams.
The inland water and flood teams are regularly involved in missing person searches, and are regularly tasked by the police forces of Gloucestershire, Gwent and the West Midlands. The teams train regularly in the rivers and canals across the area, and at least one member of each rescue station is qualified as a Swiftwater Instructor.
SARA is a registered charity, which receives no statutory government funding and relies on donations, grants and its own fundraising activities.