"Should you pay for the fire department's response?" That's the way fire departments (fire "companies") used to work, including here in the US. The problem was that while competing fire companies literally were having fistfights to see who would take your business. They tried to get to every fire, and if the building wasn't prepaid, you started negotiating with them, while they were looting the building or fighting off the competition.
That didn't work out very well and the collateral damage included large fires spreading around. Rome, London, New York
(twice), Chicago, San Francisco
, have all suffered devastating fires and somewhere along the line, folks got the idea that having municipal fire departments might not be such a bad investment.
SAR is pretty much an extension of the idea. If the master or owner hasn't bought "SAR insurance" its a bit hard to explain to the families of the collateral damage (aka "crew" or "passengers") why no SAR assets were dispatched. And probably cheaper, certainly less disruptive, to have dedicated SAR assets prepaid and stationed where they might be needed.
Which is not to say the US government
hasn't cheaped out, the USCG budget
is pennywise poundfoolish. In between Boston Mass and Cape May NJ, there are no helicopter assets for the USCG. There are some city and state assets, and Southampton
Air National Guard assets, but no full-time USCG SAR, they've all been shut down. Heckofa long ride if someone is offshore and trying to walk on water
Value of one SAR helo dispatch from that chart? Maybe $35,000? OK, four taxpayers get lost
on a fishing
boat, net value $5000 each per year for the next 20 years...that's $400,000 in taxes
, lost because someone didn't want to spend $35k on the flight.
Hmmmm....Which way costs the gummint more in the long run?
Not to mention, each pilot and crew DOES need to log a fairly large number of hours every year, simply to maintain their proficiency ratings. If they do that on drills--it's a total waste. If they make runs on false calls, it still counts as flight hours toward their ratings, and keeps the training costs down. Something the nifty powerpoint slides don't factor it.