The International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF) has announced the finalists for the2017 H.E.R.O. Awards, recognising some of the exceptional individuals and organisations around the world who go above and beyond in maritime search and rescue (SAR). IMRF Chairman and Trustee, Udo Fox said: "We have received nominations from around the world and we would like to thank all those who entered an individual or organisation for an award. There were many, many extremely worthy candidates and organisations doing inspiring work. We would also like to thank the judges for their deliberations and for deciding on the list of finalists, which we are proud to announce today." There are four categories in the IMRF H.E.R.O Awards 2017: The Individual award recognises an outstanding contribution by an individual in a maritime SAR operation and is sponsored by 8 West Consulting/SafeTrx. The finalists are Anton Tasanen for his skilled and brave rescue of a crewmember overboard using the vessels mooring winch in rough seas near Finland, and Ray Burge for his quick thinking lifesaving actions which saved a husband and wife caught in strong currents and heavy seas in New Zealand. The Team award, recognises an outstanding contribution by a team or teams in the maritime SAR ecosystem working together to save lives and is sponsored by Orolia/McMurdo. The finalists are the National Sea Rescue Institute WaterWise Academy in South Africa which teaches disadvantaged children about water safety educating approximately 330,000 children each year and MOAS (the Migrant Offshore Aid Station) based in Malta. MOAS has been nominated for its tireless work over the Easter weekend when it rescued over 1,800 desperate people from woefully inadequate boats in the Mediterranean. The Innovation and Technology award recognises new products and technologies developed that improve the work and success of SAR organisations, and is sponsored by Pole Star. The RNLI Future Leaders Project Team 2016, is a finalist for this award, nominated for their programme which focuses on new and developing search and rescue organisations around the world, helping to build individual and organisational leadership. The other finalist is the MAR-SimNET Project, an interlinked simulator for maritime disasters which incorporates – for the very first time - the needs of the different stakeholders involved in a complex search and rescue operation. The MAR-SimNET project provides interorganisational training for all the entities involved, from maritime rescue coordination centres to coastal radio stations to SAR vessels on the water and SAR helicopters overhead. Finally, the Vladimir Maksimov Lifetime Achievement award recognises outstanding service to SAR by an individual or organisation and is sponsored by Inmarsat. The finalists for this award are Branko Rameša from the Croatian Search and Rescue, Croatia, and ADES (the Association of Maritime and River Rescue of Uruguay) with special recognition for the outstanding voluntary work undertaken by Captain Ramón Sagüés and Engineer Otto Vicente Muzzio to establish and develop this pioneering SAR institution. With almost 40 years of SAR experience, Mr. Branko has demonstrated his bravery time and time again, dedicating his life to saving lives at sea. While Captain Ramón Sagüés and Engineer Otto Vicente Muzzio worked as pioneering volunteers in Uruguay to help build the exemplary search and rescue institution that is ADES today. The winners of the IMRF H.E.R.O. Awards 2017 will be announced at an awards dinner held at the RNLI College, Poole in the UK and online, on 2 November 2017. Members of the public, SAR professionals and anyone from the maritime industry are encouraged to visit the website, to read more about the finalists and to vote for the People's Choice H.E.R.O. Award - full details of how to vote for the People's Choice H.E.R.O. Award will be released shortly. There will also be a Local IMRF H.E.R.O. 2017 Award given to local SAR H.E.R.O.s, nominated by the event's hosts the RNLI. The IMRF H.E.R.O. Awards 2017 judges are Michael Vlasto OBE, former RNLI Operations Director, Nigel Clifford, General Manager Safety and Response Maritime New Zealand, Chris Loizou, Chief Business Development Officer Orolia/McMurdo, France, and António Duarte, Monteiro Cape Verde, National Search and Rescue Coordination President, Cape Verde. The H.E.R.O Awards 2017 are supported by lead sponsors Orolia/McMurdo - global leader in emergency response and readiness and sponsors Inmarsat, global satellite owner and operator which provides mobile and fixed communications services to the maritime industry. Pole Star which has been proudly serving the maritime sector by increasing safety and security at sea for 20 years and 8 West Consulting, the company that developed SafeTrx, the vessel tracking smartphone application.