If you see urgent rescue operations taking place with multiple vessels and dozens of rescue personnel on Sydney's Pittwater this Sunday morning, don't be alarmed, there's no-one sinking, missing or drowning - it's just Marine Rescue NSW practising its tricks.
Marine Rescue NSW - about to practise its life-saving tricks on Sydney’s Pittwater
Rescue specialists from across Sydney and the Central Coast will gather at Newport this weekend (April 14 and 15) for the region’s annual marine Search & Rescue Exercise (SAREX).
Marine Rescue NSW Commissioner Stacey Tannos said up to 60 volunteers and eight vessels from 10 Marine Rescue NSW Units would take part in the two days of theory and practical 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 an emergency.'
The crews will spend Saturday at the Royal Motor Yacht Club, Newport, 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 Broken Bay 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.
Marine Rescue Units from Broken Bay, Middle Harbour, Cottage Point, Port Jackson, Hawkesbury, Port Hacking, Botany Bay, Terrey Hills, Central Coast and Terrigal will take part in the weekend.
The event will also involve personnel from NSW Police Force Marine Area Command, NSW Ambulance Service, the Royal Australian Navy and Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service.
The Marine Area Command Offshore Patrol Vessel Nemesis will participate, along with the Navy 723 Squadron and Westpac helicopters. A briefing on the use of helicopters in search and rescue will be followed by an inspection of the Navy chopper at Porters Reserve, Newport, on Saturday afternoon.
Sunday’s search exercise will start at 8.30am, finishing by 11.30am.