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News & Media

  • Joint exercise to test marine search and rescue experts
  • November 20, 2013

Marine search and rescue personnel from the Northern Rivers will put their skills to the test at the region’s annual joint-agency Search and Rescue Exercise (SAREX) at Yamba this weekend (November 23 and 24).

The exercise will culminate in a search for rescue dummies dropped in the ocean on Sunday morning.

Up to 50 volunteers from seven Marine Rescue NSW units - Point Danger, Brunswick, Cape Byron, Ballina, Evans Head, Iluka-Yamba and Wooli - will assemble for the theoretical and practical exercises.

They will be joined by personnel from the NSW Police Force Marine Area Command, Ambulance Service of NSW, Australian Navy, Westpac Rescue Helicopter and Surf Life Saving Australia.

Four MRNSW vessels, along with the police boat, Fearless, and the Navy and Westpac helicopters will be involved.

MRNSW Deputy Commissioner Dean Storey said the SAREX was one of a regular series of exercises staged each year to hone crews’ expertise and test agencies’ rescue coordination and procedures.

“This exercise, the final one for 2013, is an integral component of our Northern Rivers units’ annual training program,” he said.

Personnel will take part in table-top practical and theoretical sessions on Saturday. Demonstrations by theNavy and Westpac crews will provide first-hand knowledge of complex helicopter search techniques.

MRNSW vessels from Ballina, Evans Head, Iluka-Yamba and Wooli, along with Fearless and Surf Life Saving jet skis and inflatable rubber boats, will join Sunday’s offshore exercise, searching for rescue dummies dropped in pre-determined positions by the two choppers.

Marine Rescue Iluka-Yamba’s Steber 38, Iluka-Yamba 30, will act as the on-scene coordinating vessel, with the unit’s Search and Rescue Coordination Centre playing a crucial role as the base for the exercise direction.

Sunday’s exercise will give the crews the opportunity to put the essential search theory covered the previous day into practice.

Members of the public will get excellent views of the offshore exercise from the headlands at Yamba and the Clarence River breakwalls.

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