On May 22, 2021

Search and Rescue experts assemble on Mid North Coast

Marine Rescue specialists from the NSW Mid North Coast and Hunter Coast are taking to the water off Forster to search for “victims” missing at sea as part of a major capability exercise today.

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

MRNSW Deputy Commissioner Alex Barrell said more than 70 volunteers from nine MRNSW units were among more than 85 specialists taking part in the second of the 2021 SAREX series.

Members of the Forster-Tuncurry, Trial Bay, Nambucca, Port Macquarie, Camden Haven, Crowdy Harrington, Port Stephens, Newcastle and Lemon Tree Passage units will take part.

They are being joined by personnel from the NSW Police Force Marine Area Command, Australia Maritime Safety Authority, Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter and Surf Life Saving NSW.

“These exercises are staged along the coastline each year to hone marine rescue search and rescue skills and cooperation between agencies to ensure we can all operate seamlessly in an emergency,” Deputy Commissioner Barrell said.

“This weekend’s event is a major component of our ongoing professional training program for our volunteers in this busy boating region.

“Our volunteers are trained to the highest standards for their roles and the on-water experience they gain from a SAREX helps keep them rescue-ready around the clock.

”The search exercise is based on a scenario involving a search for multiple victims of a large-scale emergency.”

The search started about 8.30am today, with rescue vessels from the Marine Rescue Forster-Tuncurry, Crowdy Harrington, Port Stephens and Lemon Tree Passage units and a NSW Police vessel heading offshore from the harbour.

Rescue Water Craft from Marine Rescue Nambucca, Trial Bay and Port Macquarie and Surf Life Saving will search close to the shoreline.

At the same time, volunteers from all nine units are undertaking incident management exercises on shore.

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