An Illawarra search and rescue exercise is being held this Sunday, February 16. Rescue specialists from the region will take to the water off Greenwell Point, to search for six 'victims' missing at sea as part of a major capability exercise.
The search will be the culmination of a two-day regional Search and Rescue Exercise (SAREX) designed to test agencies’ marine search and rescue coordination and practices.
Marine Rescue NSW Deputy Commissioner Dean Storey said up to 90 volunteers and seven rescue vessels from six MRNSW units would take part in the two days of theoretical and practical training sessions.
'This SAREX is the first in our 2014 series of exercises to be held along the coastline to hone marine rescue search and rescue skills and cooperation between agencies,' Deputy Commissioner Storey said.
'It’s a major component of our ongoing annual training program for our Illawarra volunteers.
'Members of our Marine Rescue Kioloa, Ulladulla, Jervis Bay, Shoalhaven, Shellharbour, and Port Kembla units will assemble for the weekend.'
The event will also involve personnel from the NSW Police Force Marine Area Command, NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS), the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), Surf Life Saving Illawarra (SLS) and the Lifesaver Helicopter.
The weekend will start with a day of table-top exercises and lectures at the Greenwell Point Bowling Club on Saturday.
On Sunday morning, the fleet of MRNSW, RMS, Police, and SLS vessels and Lifesaver chopper will work together in a practical exercise aimed at locating and retrieving the six dummies dropped into the ocean off Greenwell Point to simulate people missing at sea in a major emergency.
The public will be able to watch the exercise unfold from about 9a.m., with Crookhaven Heads the best vantage point to take in the action.
Deputy Commissioner Storey said the SAREX series helped strengthen joint agency capability.
'This is essential to ensure that we have the best possible chance of finding and rescuing someone in the water as soon as possible in an emergency, when time is always of the essence,' he said.
Marine Rescue website: click here
by Ken McManus
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9:34 AM Thu 13 Feb 2014GMT
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