The DGzRS (Deutsche Gesellschaft zur Rettung Schiffbrüchiger = German Maritime Search and Rescue Service) is responsible for the maritime search and rescue service in the German areas of the North Sea and Baltic Sea. To fulfill its tasks, it keeps about 60 rescue vessels and boats at 55 stations between Borkum in the West and Usedom in the East ready for action – around the clock, in all weathers.

Year after year, the sea rescuers are called out to rescue about 2,000 times, coordinated by the RETTUNGSLEITSTELLE SEE of the DGzRS (MRCC = Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre). The independent and autonomous work of the sea rescuers is financed entirely by voluntary contributions, without governmental financial support. Since the founding of the DGzRS in 1865, its crews have rescued more than 86,000 people from distress at sea and imminent danger. The patron of the sea rescuers is the Federal President of Germany.

How to contact us in an emergency

VHF channel 16 and 70 (DSC) as well as medium frequency 2187.5 kHz (DSC) via BREMEN RESCUE RADIO (24 h), call name: Bremen Rescue

MRCC BREMEN in case of emergency (24 h):
Tel: +49 (0)421 536 87 - 0
Fax: +49 (0)421536 87 - 14
Telex: 2 46 466 mrcc d
AFTN: EDDWYYX (via Bremen Air Traffic Control)

Attention: E-mail is not an alerting channel in case of distress at sea!

A rescuer on a rescue boat reaches for two people on a shipwreck

Clip: the DGzRS in 180 Seconds

Our Fleet

Our rescue units are built for severe weather conditions and have proven their strength time and again on their missions. 
20 search and rescue vessels and 40 search and rescue boats form the rescue fleet. The units range in length from seven to 46 meters and are stationed at 55 stations at the North Sea and Baltic Sea.

The concept of stationing units takes into account danger hot spots, traffic density and area conditions. The different rescue units complement each other optimally when required. Being able to have several units on scene within a short period is part of the stationing concept. The size of the ship is not necessarily the most important feature – rescue and medical equipment as well as draught are equally important.

A formation of DGzRS rescue units at sea
The DGzRS rescue fleet. Sixty units are stationed along the German coast. Foto:

Our History

19th century painting of a lifeboat at sea
19th century painting of a lifeboat at sea by Claus Bergen


After tragic shipwrecks at the North Sea coast, Adolph Bermpohl, a navigation instructor from Vegesack, and Carl Kuhlmay, a lawyer, call for the founding of a sea rescue organization on a private basis.


Georg Breusing, a customs inspector, founds the first German regional association for the rescue of shipwrecked persons in Emden. The first rescue stations are established. They are equipped with open rowing boats.


The DGzRS is founded in Kiel. The DGzRS headquarters are established in Bremen.


The motorization of the rescue fleet begins. After World War I many stations are equipped with motorized lifeboats.


In World War II, the DGzRS rescue fleet sails under the protection of the Geneva Convention.


Germany is divided into the Federal Republic of Germany (Bundesrepublik Deutschland) and the German Democratic Republic (GDR, Deutsche Demokratische Republik). DGzRS continues the sea rescue service in the German Bight and the Western Baltic Sea. The GDR's sea rescue service is organized by the state.


The first modern sea rescue cruiser (with daughter boat) is named THEODOR HEUSS: It's a new, pioneering era in the construction of modern, versatile lifeboats.


Rescue cruiser ADOLPH BERMPOHL, stationed at Heligoland, nearly capsizes in a hurricane. The crew of four and three previously rescued Dutch fishermen do not survive the tragic accident.


German Reunification: DGzRS resumes work at initially eleven (17 today) stations along the coast of Mecklenburg Western Pomerania.


During the night of January 1st to 2nd, rescue cruiser ALFRIED KRUPP is caught in a hurricane while returning from a mission. Heavy ground seas nearly capsize the vessel and damage it heavily. Two rescuers do not survive the accident.


Radio station Norddeich Radio closes down. DGzRS takes over the round-the-clock listening watch for emergency communication on VHF marine radio.


60 rescue units are in operation. 1,000 sea rescuers provide their service – mostly on a voluntary basis. Without this commitment the work of the DGzRS could not be done.
But then again, it could not be done without their donours, either. Our search and rescue service is completely financed by voluntary contributions and donations.

DGzRS collecting box in form of a lifeboat on a rope
The famous DGzRS collecting box in form of a lifeboat was introduced ten years after the organizations founding and can be found in more than 15.000 places today. Foto: Sven Junge

Become a donour 

To ensure that our crews return safely from every mission, they need the best equipment. And ships that are state of the art.
That costs a lot of money. 

Our donations account: 
Sparkasse Bremen
IBAN DE36 2905 0101 0001 0720 16

Thank you!


Deutsche Gesellschaft zur Rettung Schiffbrüchiger
Werderstraße 2, 28199 Bremen

Postfach 10 63 40
28063 Bremen
Telephone: +49 (0)421 53 707 - 0
Telefax: +49 (0)421 53 707 - 690

A rescuer in the harbour shows an envelope with an at-sign