SAREX rescue mission at Batemans Bay

RESCUE specialists from the State’s south will take to the water off Batemans Bay to search for four  “victims” missing at sea as part of a major capability exercise this Sunday, October 12.

The search will be the culmination of a two-day regional Search and Rescue Exercise (SAREX) designed to test agencies’ marine search and rescue practices and coordination.

Marine Rescue NSW Deputy Commissioner Dean Storey said up to 55 rescuers from five MRNSW Monaro and Illawarra regional units and other agencies would take part in the two days of theoretical and practical training sessions.

“This SAREX is the third 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 volunteers from the Monaro and Illawarra regions.

“Members of Marine Rescue Batemans Bay, Tuross, Narooma, Merimbula and Ulladulla will attend, along with members of the NSW Police Force Marine Area Command, NSW Roads and Maritime Services, the Royal Australian Navy, Westpac Rescue Helicopter and Surf Life Saving NSW.”

The weekend will start with a day of table-top exercises and lectures at the Coach House Resort on Saturday.

On Sunday morning, a fleet of seven vessels, three jet skis, two helicopters and three inflatable boats will work together in a practical exercise aimed at locating and retrieving four rescue dummies dropped into the ocean off Batemans Bay to simulate people missing at sea in a major emergency.

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.