TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Some 397 lives were saved thanks in part to satellites owned and operated by the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

According to a recent report, the agency said its satellites, which are crucial in predicting weather and climate forecasts, helped rescue 397 people from potentially life-threatening situations in and around U.S. waters in 2022.

“The value of NOAA satellites goes well beyond forecasting,” said Steve Volz, Ph.D., assistant administrator for NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service.

NOAA’s satellites also play an important role in the global Search and Rescue Satellite Aided Tracking system, or COSPAS-SARSAT, which uses a network of spacecraft to track distress signals sent from emergency beacons.

The signal can come from aircraft, boats, or handheld Personal Locator Beacons.

Of the 397 U.S. rescues last year, NOAA said 275 were water rescues, 42 were from downed aircraft and 80 were on land involving PLBs.

A graphic showing 3 categories of satellite-assisted rescues that took place in 2022: Of the 397 lives saved, 275 people were rescued at sea, 42 were rescued from aviation incidents and 80 were rescued from incidents on land. (NOAA)

NOAA said Florida had the most SARSAT rescues with 106, followed by Alaska with 56 and Utah with 20.

On Aug. 5, a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter rescued a sailor from his capsized boat off the coast of New Smyrna Beach, Florida. The sailor grabbed the life raft and activated his beacon before his boat sank.

Since its start in 1982, COSPAS-SARSAT has been credited with supporting more than 50,000 rescues worldwide, including more than 10,100 in the U.S. and its surrounding waters.

“In keeping with its mission, the SARSAT Program truly takes the ‘search’ out of search and rescue,” Volz added.