Search and rescue computer programs have been developed in order to increase the efficiency of search and rescue (SAR) operations and to help operators to determine search areas, estimate resources required, calculate search patterns, and make decisions efficiently. The paper analyses renowned SAR software systems, including SARPlan, SARIS, SAROPS, SARMAP and TRANSAS. They have been used by a number of prominent search and rescue maritime authorities all over the world. A qualitative SWOT analysis allows an insight into their advantages, shortcomings, opportunities and threats. The comparative analysis has produced results that show characteristics of application of the individual programs with regard to search areas and material and human resources.