Marine Rescue specialists from the Illawarra and South Coast have took to the water off Ulladulla on Saturday, June 25th to search for a fishing boat missing at sea as part of a major capability exercise.
The search was the focus of a two-day regional Search and Rescue Exercise (SAREX) designed to test agencies’ marine search and rescue practices and coordination.
Minister for Emergency Services, Resilience and Flood Recovery, Steph Cooke, said 50 volunteers from nine Marine Rescue NSW units were among more than 120 specialists taking part in the first of a series of search and rescue exercises along the NSW coast this winter.
The exercise saw Marine Rescue NSW volunteers from the Port Kembla, Shellharbour, Shoalhaven, Jervis Bay, Sussex Inlet, Ulladulla, Kioloa, Batemans Bay and Tuross Moruya units take part.
The Marine Rescue NSW volunteers were joined by personnel from the NSW Police, including Incident and Emergency Command and Marine Area Command; the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, forty members of Surf Life Saving NSW, and the Regional Emergency Management Officer.
“These exercises are staged along the coastline each year to hone marine rescue search and rescue skills and cooperation between agencies to ensure they operate seamlessly when a real emergency strikes,” Ms Cooke said.
“The weekend’s event was a major component of our emergency services’ ongoing professional training program in this busy boating region.”
“Our emergency services personnel are trained to the highest standards for their roles and the on-water experience they gain from these exercises helps keep them rescue-ready around the clock.”
Marine Rescue NSW Deputy Commissioner Alex Barrell said that while the search exercise was based on a familiar scenario for emergency services personnel involving a search for a missing fishing boat, a few surprises thrown in tested the participant’s skills and their coordination with other agencies.
“In addition to the on-water component of the exercise, volunteers from all nine units undertook incident management exercises on shore to further test their skills and capability, as well as participating in presentations by participating agencies designed to enhance inter-agency understanding and cooperation.”
“Boaters on the South Coast and Illawarra can be confident that in an emergency, those coming to their aid are skilled and well-practiced professionals thanks to these exercises and rigorous on-going training,” Deputy Commissioner Barrell added.