How BSAR NSW Operates

BSAR NSW is a specialist land search and rescue squad affiliated with the NSW Volunteer Rescue Association (VRA). It is also the search and rescue arm of Bushwalking NSW, (formerly The NSW Confederation of Bushwalking Clubs).  Most of our operations are performed under the direction of the NSW Police.

BSAR NSW is run by a committee that organises all field operations and maintains its equipment. We have general meetings every three months and all members are encouraged to attend and “have their say” in the running of the squad.

All operations are performed on a voluntary basis and are provided to the public entirely free of charge.

The Squad is on call all day, everyday.


Callouts are managed by Call-out Group Coordinators who contact the members of their group depending on the location of the callout and the numbers required.  At present we have 9 groups:

  1. Sydney West
  2. Sydney North Shore
  3. Sydney South & Wollongong
  4. ACT
  5. Newcastle & Central Coast
  6. Sydney North West
  7. Blue Mountains
  8. Sydney East
  9. Sydney Northern Beaches

Callouts are initiated by either:

  • Calls to the BSAR NSW Emergency Phone number
  • Police Rescue and other emergency services.

Police Rescue or other emergency services callouts can be for things other than overdue bushwalkers, such as missing children or elderly people, missing aircraft or searching for evidence at a crime scene.

Unless circumstances dictate otherwise, delayed bushwalking parties will often be given an extra 24 hours after their anticipated return time before BSAR NSW is called out. Most overdue persons are merely delayed by car problems, hesitant navigation or inclement weather and arrive home safely within this extra time.

In any one year there are between five to fifteen alerts. Alerts have occurred in all bush areas around Sydney, including The Blue Mountains, The Budawangs and Barrington Tops. For a list of our recent alerts and activations click here.