US Search and Rescue Optimal Planning System (SAROPS)

Search and Rescue Optimal Planning System (SAROPS) is a comprehensive search and rescue (SAR) planning system used by the United States Coast Guard (USCG) in the planning and execution of almost all SAR cases in and around the United States territorial waters and the Caribbean. In partnership with other companies, RPS has been contributing to the development and distribution of SAROPS, assisting USCG with their technical and scientific requirements. 



SAROPS has three main components: The Graphical User Interface (GUI), the Environmental Data Server (EDS), and the Simulator (SIM). Using a common mapping framework for a tailored Geographic Information System (GIS), SAROPS can be used in both a coastal and oceanic environments. Built into the simulator is the ability to access global and regional wind and current data sets making SAROPS the most comprehensive and powerful tool available for maritime SAR planners. 

Prior to SAROPS, SAR controllers in the U.S. Coast Guard used the Computer Assisted Search Planning (CASP) and Joint Automated Work Sheets (JAWS), which used dated search planning techniques and algorithms. Consequently, there was a need for a tool that is fast, simple, minimizes data entry, minimizes potential for error, can access high-resolution environmental data, and create search action plans that maximize the probability of success. 

Key Details

Project name

USCG Search and Rescue Optimal Planning System & EDS


United States Coastguard (USCG)


  • Ports
  • Maritime
  • Defence
  • Security and Safety
  • Information and telecommunications


  • Waters of the United States and Caribbean

Services provided

  • Marine and emergency response
  • Marine, river, and lake rescue
  • Data management and analytics
  • Spatial intelligence and GIS
  • Software Development
  • Modelling


The USCG has roles in maritime homeland security, maritime law enforcement (MLE),  maritime patrol,  search and rescue (SAR), marine environmental protection (MEP), and the maintenance of river, intracoastal and offshore aids to navigation. On an average day, the USCG will conduct 109 Search and Rescue cases, assist 192 people in distress, respond to 20 oil or hazardous chemical spills, and have underway small boats for 396 sorties/missions. These are just a few examples of how SAROPS may be utilized on any given day. 

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RPS, partnered with Northrup Grumman and Strategic Data Systems, has provided technical expertise, dedicated software engineers, and technical staff to work with the USCG in creating the next generation of SAROPS. The role of RPS is to integrate the numerical drift model into the GUI, and to regularly maintain the Environmental Data Server (EDS). USCG SAROPS users can access hundreds of different metocean data products, observations, and predictions across all USA continental and offshore waters from the RPS EDS database.   

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