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Marine Rescue volunteers take part in NSW NPWS whale disentanglement training exercise

Marine Rescue volunteers on board Botany Port Hacking rescue vessels BH 30 and BH 32 have taken part in an important training exercise with the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service at Port Hacking.

Almost 40 people were involved in the Whale Disentanglement training including six Marine Rescue NSW crew members and two radio operators.

Marine Rescue Botany Port Hacking Coxswain Graham Clarke said BH 30 and BH 32 were mothering vessels for the exercise.

“We carry all the gear and stand off the NPWS boats doing the whale rescue.

“They get the call that a whale has been entangled, they assess the situation and then come to the Marine Rescue NSW vessel to get the gear they need to complete the rescue,” Mr Clarke said.

A specially constructed whale tail section with various items tangled around it is towed behind a vessel for the training.

Organisation for the Rescue and Research of Cetaceans in Australia (ORRCA) president Ashley Ryan observed the exercise while NPWS coordinated the situation from the Marine Rescue NSW vessels.

Mr Clarke said the exercise was conducted between Bundeena and Jibbon Head and finished with a full debrief.

“The NPWS crew were amazing.

“It is very serious training and they make it as live as they possibly can.

“I was very impressed by the way they operated, they are so good at what they do,” Mr Clarke said.

During his time with the Botany Port Hacking unit, Mr Clarke said he has been involved in a number of searches for whales but never a disentanglement operation.

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