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Far South Coast rescue personnel put search skills to the test

by Ken McManus on 19 Jul 2013
BG30 one of 8 MRNSW units taking part in SAREX Marine Rescue Bermagui
This weekend on July 20th and 21st, Rescue specialists from the Far South Coast will gather at Bermagui for the region’s annual marine Search and Rescue Exercise (SAREX).

Marine Rescue NSW Commissioner Stacey Tannos said up to 40 volunteers from eight MRNSW Units as well as operators from other emergency services would take part in the two days of theory and on-water exercises.

'This SAREX is one of a series of exercises held along the coastline each year to hone rescue teams’ marine search skills and bolster our rescue capability,' Commissioner Tannos said.

'Arrangements are in place to allow rescue agencies to work seamlessly on the smooth and efficient coordination of a rescue operation, providing the optimal chance of finding someone in trouble in the water quickly and safely.

'These exercises help ensure that personnel in all relevant agencies, from those plotting the search pattern to those actively engaged in the search on the water, are familiar with their roles and responsibilities in the event of a marine emergency.'

Members of MRNSW units from Batemans Bay, Tuross, Narooma, Bermagui, Merimbula, Eden, Alpine Lakes and Moama will take part in the weekend tests.

The event also will involve personnel from NSW Police Force Marine Area Command, Roads and Maritime Services, NSW Ambulance Service, the Royal Australian Navy and the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service.

The Marine Area Command offshore patrol vessel, Falcon, will participate, along with the Navy 723 Squadron helicopter. A briefing on the use of helicopters in search and rescue will be followed by an inspection of the Navy chopper on the football oval in Bermagui on Saturday afternoon.

The crews will spend Saturday at Bermagui Country Club, completing table-top exercises and updating their knowledge in areas such as coastal search and rescue theory, water currents and drift, determining search areas and new forms of data transmission to operational vessels.

They will then take to the water off Bermagui on Sunday morning to put this knowledge to the test, with the aim of locating and retrieving a number of dummies dropped into the ocean.

Sunday’s search exercise will start at 9am, finishing by 12.30pm.
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