Weather permitting, nearly every Saturday morning throughout the year, Narooma’s Marine Rescue vessel NA30 RV John Young, heads out through the bar with a number of volunteer boat crew aboard to conduct training drills and exercises – or to respond to a request for assistance.
Last Saturday was no exception, with both Narooma and Bermagui Marine Rescue Units taking advantage of the calm sea conditions experienced at this time of year.
These were ideal conditions to train and familiarise boat crews in the setting-up and deployment of the heavy berth lines at the Montague Island Nature Reserve jetty located 5 nautical miles south east of Narooma.
Crews also spent time manoeuvring NA30 and Bermagui’s vessel, BG30, safely alongside the jetty and embarking and disembarking personnel.
With the support of the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) Narooma Office, this training was undertaken in the event one or both units were tasked to assist the NPWS with the implementation of The Montague Island Emergency Action Plan, which may involve the landing of incident personnel, evacuation of injured staff or, one or more of the 15,000 members of the public that now visit the island annually on day and overnight tours.
The Montague Island jetty is directly exposed to the ocean on the western side of the island and is normally subject to heavy swell surge, high winds and wave action requiring sound local knowledge by masters and quick actions by vessel crew and coxswains.
The Montague Island training has now involved a total of 20 crew, including six Masters and Coxswains from both units; all conducted by Narooma Unit’s new Deputy Unit Commander/Master Paul Bourke and Senior Master, Ross Constable who between them have logged several thousand commercial landings at the Montague Island jetty during past commercial vessel careers.
Naturally, Narooma’s Marine Rescue vessel was capably supported in the joint exercise by the volunteer radio operator on duty at the Old Pilot House, as is the case with any operation whether it be marine rescue training exercises or calls for assistance.
Narooma’s Marine Rescue Unit welcomes anyone who would be interested in joining the organisation as volunteer boat crew or radio operators (training is provided) to either come along to the unit’s Annual General Meeting this Wednesday, June 19 at 7pm at the Old Pilot House or complete a membership form online at www.marinerescuensw.com.au