Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What is Amver?

We were reminded recently that not everyone knows about Amver. This may be your first time visiting our site. With that in mind we thought it was important to explain just what Amver is and what we do.


The Amver (a fancy acronym for Automated Mutual Assistance Vessel Rescue System) system is a voluntary ship tracking/reporting system managed by the United States Coast Guard. The mission of Amver is to provide search and rescue professionals with the location of merchant ships near a distress or other emergency at sea.

The Amver system has been in operation since 1958 and was established as a result of the Titanic disaster of 1912. As Titanic was sinking, passing merchant ships thought the distress flares were simply the passengers and crew celebrating the maiden voyage of the unsinkable ship.

Originally designed to track vessel voyages in the North Atlantic, the Amver system evolved and was a global search and rescue system by the 1970s.

Amver is unique because it is voluntary and leverages the voyages of merchant ships from any nation, flying any flag.

There are no fees associated with Amver. The United States Coast Guard does not charge survivors or for ships that participate in the Amver system.

Today there are over 5,000 7,000 Amver ships reporting every day. What does that look like? Here is a great example of the location of Amver ships around the world.

What to know more? Check out our video:

Can't see the video? Click here.

Why should a ship participate in Amver?
  • Participation is voluntary, free of cost, and open to all ships regardless of flag or nation.
  • Amver participation satisfies the requirements of 44 CFR, Part 307.11 for U.S. vessels to file position reports with the U.S. Maritime Administration.
  • Amver information is protected as commercial proprietary information and is released only to recognized search and rescue authorities during maritime emergencies.
  • Regular reporting to Amver ensures the location of your ship is known at all times during its voyage (in the event of an emergency).
  • Regular reporting to Amver decreases the search area if a ship is unreported, overdue, or goes missing at sea.
  • Amver reduces the time between notification and rescue response.
  • Amver can reduce the time lost to vessels responding to calls for assistance by coordinating the rescue effort, utilizing ships in the best position, with the best rescue capability and eliminating unnecessary diversions by other vessels.
  • Amver participants are under no greater obligation to render assistance during an emergency than vessels that do not participate. On the contrary, ships unfavorably located on the Amver plot may be released from their obligation to respond by search and rescue authorities.
  • Amver exchanges information with the Japanese Ship Reporting System (JASREP), the Australian Ship Reporting System (AUSREP), the Chilean Ship Reporting System (CHILREP), and the U.S. Maritime Administration (MAREP), so reports need only be made to any one system with a keyword added to the message authorizing exchange with another system.
  • Amver reports transmitted by the Amver/SEAS software provide reporting of both vessel positions and weather data simultaneously, reducing reporting workload and cost.
  • Amver is a demonstration of international humanitarian cooperation, mariner helping mariner, by assisting any person in distress at sea regardless of nationality or status.
  • Your ship may be the one called upon to assist in an emergency. You may also be a ship in distress one day.
How do you enroll your ship in Amver?

Amver enrollment is easy. The video below shows you how (a transcript of the video is available here).

Can't see the video? Click here.

How is Amver used?

Search and rescue professionals use a product of Amver called a surface picture, or SURPIC. Rescue professionals can learn how to request an Amver SURPIC here. All rescue coordination centers around the world are encouraged to do so.

What's the result? Rescues like this one, this one, or this dramatic rescue

Learn more

You can see and learn more about what Amver does by checking out our other products-

If you like what you see consider joining the Amver system. If you're a journalist or media person and you want to contact us, just click here.

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