Tracking - the word conjures up images of people in the wilderness carefully studying the ground for any small piece of information. Such skills sound like they belong in a Hollywood movie or are only a part of history. Many people are surprised to learn that tracking skills are still part of the modern world regularly practiced by the military, police and SAR personnel around the world. Trained and skilled Track and Clue Aware (TCA) searchers allow a faster resolution to any search operation as they are more aware of clue possibilities and are less likely to misinterpret the information found.

At any point in time, we believe that we take in and "see" everything that occurs around us. This could not be further from the truth. The reality is that the brain MUST take shortcuts and ignore the bulk of what we see in order to function effectively. For search and rescue purposes this is hard to accept when we are heavily reliant on our vision to locate our missing person. Tracking is even more reliant on visual detection - not only of the missing person, but also on the smallest of clues or pieces of sign they may leave behind indicating they were there at some time. The good news is that we can train our brain to make better detection's and we can learn processes and systems which allow us to "track" faster than our missing subject can walk. The diagram below outlines the SARINZ tracking training pathway.
SARINZ are New Zealand's leading tracking training organisation for Search and Rescue. All of our SAR tracking courses are founded on a team approach, integrated with best practice search and rescue and taught by leading SAR specialists. SARINZ have delivered more than 250 tracking courses to approximately 3000 SAR practitioners throughout the world. We know our training works, has led to operational finds and is heavily foundered on operational need.

Refresher / Re-validation Courses

Trained with us previously? Just need a quick refresh? SARINZ can deliver refresher and re-validation courses for any of our core courses, delivery specialised or customised courses and can perform competency assessment where required. We can even mix-and-match content from different courses to best meet your needs. Contact us for details.

Track and Clue Awareness (TCA)

The TCA course is the entry level tracking course covering the basics of tracking. On the course you will be introduced to observation, clue awareness and visual tracking skills. You will learn to distinguish between natural characteristics and those caused by humans moving through an environment. It is important because everywhere a lost subject walks they leave behind clues which searchers must know how to recognise and then interpret with some degree of accuracy.
The focus of this course is hands-on skill and knowledge development. More than 80% of this course will be practical with very little time spent in a classroom. You will be required to track in various settings both day and night. The advanced tracking courses introduce more systems to help locate people faster, but the learning from this course forms vital core skills for trackers of all abilities.

Tracking - Sign Cutting and Ageing (TCA2)

The Tracking course is the second of the tracking training courses. On the Track & Clue Awareness (TCA) course you learned to identify sign, to follow sign step-by-step and some guiding principles to process basic clue sites. This course seeks to extend those foundation principles and make them more applicable in an operational context.

We will explore different methods of locating 'sign', or the tracks of a subject, by 'sign cutting'. Once located and the Direction of Travel (DOT) established, additional 'cuts' can be made in likely areas to speed up the tracking process in a controlled and systematic manner.

Persons undertaking this course should be proficient at being able to recognise sign in a variety of environments and be able to work as part of a small team.

Clue Site Processing (CSP)

Most SAR operations are straight forward and are resolved quickly with general search skills. The success of a small number of more complex and often high profile operations will depend on quality processing of sites where clues are found. This course will focus on the skills needed to resolve these and the skills are transferable to all aspects of tracking and SAR operations - wilderness, rural or urban.
A key focus of this course is to develop a tracking profile through quality processing and interpretation of sign. This can include the subjects probable equipment as well as their likely physiological and psychological condition. This course involves working to a higher level than previous tracking courses and course attendees are expected to be proficient and practiced in the techniques and skills of the earlier courses. This course is recommended for all persons that are interested in increasing their tracking skills.

Operational Tracking Techniques

5-Day Tracking Course

Up to now, your ability to follow sign has likely been measured in hundreds of meters an hour. This course seeks to turn that into kilometres per hour by building on your sign cutting skills and knowledge, adding some terrain analysis and trailing skills. Combine all of this with improved inter-team tracking abilities and a couple of small teams can "track" a subject down faster than the subject can walk over the same ground. The culmination of this course is the tracking of subjects that have been given a 24 hour head start. It is our expectation that we can have you track them down within a 24 hour period from when we brief you. Sound interesting - you bet! Limited class size, an increased tutor/student ratio and some honest appraisal of your skills, all combined in a "realistic" scenario make this a must for all SAR tracking enthusiasts.
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