Who are we?

The Borders Water Rescue Team provides a water based search, rescue & recovery service in conjunction with the emergency services. We have a volunteer team of trained personnel who are able to assist with searching for individuals who have got into trouble in our many rivers. In addition, we provide health and safety support for any water based community activities (e.g. Common Ridings water crossings).

BWRT Members

Aims and Objectives

The Borders Water Rescue Team's purpose is to provide a water-related search, rescue and recovery service to benefit the general public and save lives.


The operational Team of appropriately qualified and experienced volunteers work with the emergency services (police, fire service, mountain rescue etc) to deliver the following:

  • searches in water for missing persons;
  • swift water rescue;
  • recovery from water of persons or objects;
  • assistance with evacuation of persons and animals from flooding.

We also provide a safety/support service for community events where water is involved, allowing the general public to participate safely.

Geographical Area

The Team covers the whole of the Scottish Borders Council and East Lothian local authority areas, as well as a large part both Mid and West Lothian. We draw Team members from Northumberland, Cumbria as well as within the covered area. We include a very wide cross-section of the local population within the membership such as builders, painters, farmers, engineers, teachers, project managers, plant operators and HGV drivers to name but a few!

Our History

The Borders Underwater Search Team (BUWST) was formed in October 1997 as an unincorporated voluntary organisation. This followed two incidents locally where, had there been a local specialist water based rescue team, the outcomes might have been very different. The original team was formed entirely from divers in Kelso Sub-Aqua Club. BUWST has now become Borders Water Rescue Team (BWRT) as a registered Scottish Charity Incorporated Organisation.

When the Team formed in 1997, it was unique in the UK, in providing a volunteer water-based search, rescue and recovery service. It remains unique within Scotland, and works closely with the emergency services and other local community groups.