The Civil Aid Voluntary Rescue Association (CAVRA) is a voluntary search and rescue organisation, operating within South, Mid and West Glamorgan and surrounding areas.

We are also part of the Local, Regional and National Flood Response and are a DEFRA approved Flood Rescue Team (B122).

We are a registered charity, and our purpose is to provide back-up personnel to the official Emergency Services in a range of situations, including searches for missing persons, support at public events and during times of adverse weather conditions, natural disaster or civil emergency.

Joining CAVRA

Interested in joining CAVRA?

Being a volunteer can be very rewarding but can also make great physical and mental demands on those involved.

Whilst CAVRA will train you in specific rescue skills, the starting point for membership is from a background of being comfortable in all conditions, wet and dry, in both summer and winter.

There is a progressive system towards full membership through introduction, development, and demonstrated experience. This training period alone can take up to 18 months; therefore individuals need to be able to make a long term commitment CAVRA

The requirements for consideration as a trainee would be:

Over 18 years of age.

Clean full driving license & access to own transport.

Have a reasonable level of fitness.

Be comfortable working in and around fast moving water.

Available for an acceptable proportion of the day (cavra provides 24/7 cover)

Commit to at least two nights of training a month.

Still interested?

Please fill in the application form HERE


CAVRA Assist in Search for missing Penarth Youth.

The CAVRA Team were called out to assist in the search for a missing, vulnerable, 16 year old Penarth youth on Friday 22nd December.

A number of open spaces around the area were searched, and the youth was found at Cosmeston Lakes and taken to a place of safety.

CAVRA Team members pass  Swiftwater & Flood Rescue Boat Operators Course.

Congratulations to 3 CAVRA Team Members who attended and

passed their Swiftwater and Flood Rescue Boat Operator course

at Cardiff International White Water Centre this week.

Well Done!


CAVRA Receives Donations from Wellwishers.

CAVRA receives donations from Family, Friends and Supporters following search for missing male in Pontypool area.

The CAVRA Team provided assistance during the search for a missing male person in the Pontypool area recently, as a result, the Family, Friends and other CAVRA supporters have donated equipment to the Association.

We would like to place on record our sincere thanks for these donations,especially Tammy,Phillippa and Paul.


CAVRA Team assist in search for missing male in the Pontypool area.

At the request of the family, CAVRA assisted Gwent Police to search for a missing 49-year-old male in the Pontypool area.

He was first reported missing on 13th October and was seen heading towards the canal on Monday16th October.

The CAVRA team were called on Sunday 22nd after offering their services including their newly purchased Sonar equipment. However, further information was received that he had been seen on land in the area.

The team mobilised and took full Search & Rescue equipment including the Sonar, should it be required.

Over 4 days, the area around the Llandegfedd Reservoir was thoroughly searched, as well as the area around Pontypool, Little Mill, and Glascoed.

Numerous sightings were reported and acted upon, with many locations being investigated by the Police using Dogs, Drones, and Search team assisted by CAVRA.

The CAVRA team have searched so far for a total of 216 hours and travelled over 1200 miles.

The Police are still continuing their investigations and searching for the missing person.

CAVRA is a voluntary Search & Rescue Organisation.





CAVRA Sonar now Operational

Thanks to  grants from the National Lottery (Awards for All) and the
Peoples Postcode Lottery grant schemes, CAVRA is pleased to announce that it has additional Search & Rescue capability.

A new Starfish Sonar device is available to assist in searches for missing persons, discarded objects and other items that may have entered the water.

Also, we also have an underwater camera, which, may be used to support sonar operations.

The Sonar equipment may be deployed as a rear tow device, but. may also be pole mounted. This means that it could also be deployed from the bow, side or stern of our boats.

Training has been completed and with experience we will be able to decide on the best method to use in any given situation.

Search Techniques: This will obviously depend of the area to be covered, but, normally a creeping line ahead method will be used in rivers or lakes.

In small rivers one “sweep” will probably be enough, however, in wider rivers or lakes it may take a number of “sweeps”

Protocol; Should any suspicious item/s be found, then, a cordon will be put around the scene and the local Police contacted immediately.

Full crime scene procedures will be implemented, and may be updated by the local Police.

The equipment is available on a 24/7 basis, 365 days a year at no cost.
(Although, donations are always welcome!)

It is capable of covering an area 25 metres either side of the boat, down to a depth of 25 metres.

Currently the equipment is battery operated. However, we are in the process of fitting a fixed electrical supply to 2 of our 3 boats.

CAVRA is a DEFRA approved Flood Rescue Team (B122) and is available to support operations as required.

Photographs of the equipment are attached for your information.
The Orange object is the Starfish sonar and the Yellow object the underwater camera.





What’s Happening

CAVRA Mobile
The Workhorse of the Association
CAVRA Team on night watersearch exercise
on Service in Moorland (Somerset)
CAVRA FR 10-1 on exercise Cardiff Bay
Flooding at Moorland (Somerset)
Flooding in Boverton
Flooding at Boverton (2)
Flooding at Boverton (3)
Snow at Ystrad Mynach
Snow in the Rhondda Valley
Talking to camera crew in the Rhondda valley
CAVRA Shelter
Swift Water Rescue Technicians training in the River Taff
Training at Cardiff International White Water
Training at Cardiff International White Water (2)
IRB 1 on the River Taff Cardiff

FRB 8-2 in Cardiff Bay on Exercise

CAVRA FR 10-1 Inflating at Blackweir
CAVRA Mobile on Search Exercise on River Taff at Whitchurch with utility trailer.
CAVRA Mobile in the Brecon Beacons
Mobile at Penarth Holiday Festival

Did You know that:-

1)  CAVRA is one of scores of Independent Lifeboats around the coast of the UK?

2) Since its inception in 1998, CAVRA has been available to assist during:-

Searches for Missing Persons, on Land and Sea.

During Weather related incidents such as Storms, Floods, Snow, Drought etc.

Civil Contingencies.

3)   Initially, this was within the Cardiff Bay and Vale of Glamorgan area.

It changed its name and expanded its areas of operation in October 2013 to the Civil Aid Voluntary Rescue Association (CAVRA), as it was felt this did not tie us to any geographical area, and more adequately reflected what we actually do.

4) CAVRA has been a registered Charity since September 2000 ( Registered Number 1088563.)

5) All members are CRB/DBS checked to Enhanced level, trained in First Aid, from a basic level up to and including Ambulance Emergency Technicians, with a number of members studying to become Paramedics. They are also trained in the use of our communications equipment and Map Reading.

6) 10 Members trained as Ambulance Service First Responders across South Wales, and are capable of using Defibrillators and Oxygen equipment.

7) All members of CAVRA are Volunteers – There are NO Paid Staff.

8) CAVRA has trained its Volunteers to the highest standards and submitted documentation to the Maritime & Coastguard Agency in compliance with the Under 15 Metre Rescue Boat Code in May 2009, as well as holding RYA level 2 powerboat, and Rescue Boat Operator Certification.

9) CAVRA became a DEFRA/DfT approved Team (“C” Team) and was upgraded to a “B” Team in July 2016, which, is the highest level available.

A number of team members also hold Rescue Boat Operator Qualifications.

CAVRA is part of the All-Wales Flood Response Team, as well as being part of the UK National responses run by DEFRA.

10) There are NO paid staff, and we do not own, or rent any buildings.

(Some other charities have Chief Executive Officers and scores of Managers, as well as “plush” accommodation and equipment!).

11) 100% of any donations go directly to aid our vital lifesaving services.

12) CAVRA is available 24 Hours a Day, 365 Days a Year.

13) CAVRA raises its costs from Public donations, Grants, collections etc.

14) CAVRA are active members of local Voluntary Service Councils.

e.g. Glamorgan Voluntary Services (formerly the Vale Centre for Voluntary Servies),  Cardiff Third Sector Council (C3SC), and has also applied to join the Gwent Association of Voluntary Organisations (GAVO).

15) CAVRA has its own Communications infrastructure, and can operate independently of any other organisation if required.

It also works closely with out colleagues in the Radio Amateur world,

and are active members of local RAYNET Groups

16) Donations are always welcome!


Thank you for taking the time to read this..







CAVRA FR 10-1 Inflating at Blackweir