Korea has suffered three major maritime disasters resulting in the loss of hundreds of lives. The most recent disaster happened in March 2014 near Jindo the tragedy of the event being that the massive loss of life was entirely preventable, but the Search & Rescue (SAR) system broke down. In a nation that is almost entirely dependent upon the ocean for its survival, the question is how it can provide more SAR capacity without the extreme expense of expanding the Coast Guard. For several developed and developing nations, the answer is to use a civilian volunteer maritime SAR organization (CVSO). There are two primary models: the USCG Auxiliary model and the Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) model. The Auxiliary model is more widely used within the American hemisphere, while the RNLI model tends to be used in Europe. Korea has very friendly ties with both the USA and Europe, so neither model has an obvious advantage for adoption by Korea. The problem then becomes what kind of CVSO should Korea choose, and how can one know what is the optimal system for Korea’s needs. To decide which model to use, five years of maritime incident data was given by the Korea Coast Guard and analyzed. Five possible variations, or scenarios, of the Auxiliary and RNLI models were set up and calculated. Two scenarios were clearly failures. One scenario had an 85% success rate, while two scenarios had 100% success rates. The problem then could not be answered with mere quantifiable data, because the quantifiable data yielded two equal results. Going back to the raw data, it became clear that Korea needs improvement not only in SAR response but also in SAR prevention, especially among commercial fishing vessels. Going further back to the narrative descriptions of the USCG Auxiliary and the RNLI, it became clear that, while the RNLI is the better SAR response CVSO, the USCG Auxiliary is the model Korea should adopt, both for its greater capacity for multiple missions, and, more importantly, for its much lower startup and operational costs. However, since the RNLI model has such valuable features, namely, their lifeboat stations and purpose-made lifeboats, the paper suggests using the Auxiliary model to begin, and then phasing in the most valuable aspects of the RNLI over the course of decades as the reputation and donor base grows. Although this paper is about the particular case of Korea, the method is easily transferred to any nation seeking to start its own CVSO.