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.

BWRT Members


The operational team of Rescue3 qualified and appropriately experienced volunteers work with all of the recognised emergency services to deliver the following:

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


We also provide a safety/support service for community events where water is involved, allowing the general public to participate safely (e.g. Common Riding water crossings & large scale obstacle courses).

Our Capabilities

Our qualified members alongside trainee members provide a significant voluntary response to water and flood incidents. Qualifications include Flood Responders and Swiftwater Rescue Technicians.

As part of our team we also have Advanced Swiftwater Rescue Technicians allowing us to bring additional capability to the other emergency services. These include advanced rescue techniques, rope access and knowledge to be deployed in search, rescue and recovery situations.

Our team members are aided by the wide range of water rescue equipment we have available including our converted Mercedes Sprinter, inflatable rescue boats and a water rescue sled.

All our team are mobilised through the SARCALL callout text service which is activated at the request of Police Scotland or another volunteer agency (e.g. Mountain Rescue).

Our Working partners:

  • All the regular 999 services
  • Borders Search and Rescue Unit (BSARU)
  • Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue (TVMRT)

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.

In 2013 the Borders Underwater Search Team (BUWST) had a name change, becoming the Borders Water Rescue Team (BWRT) and coincided with the team becoming 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.

Geographical Area

The team covers the whole of the Scottish Borders, Edinburgh, East Lothian as well as a large part of both Mid and West Lothian. We draw team members from Northumberland, Cumbria and Fife as well as within the covered area. We include a 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!