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Marine Rescue NSW Hunter/Central Coast Units prepare for major Search and Rescue Exercise

More than 100 Marine Rescue NSW volunteers from all eight units on the Hunter/Central Coast will take part in a major regional Search and Rescue Exercise (SAREX) hosted by the Lake Macquarie unit around Swansea Heads this weekend (July 29-30).

Marine Rescue NSW Hunter/Central Coast Zone Duty Operations Manager, Inspector Steve Raymond said the annual exercise will be coordinated by Marine Area Command and involve other agencies including the Westpac rescue helicopter.

“These exercises are held to put all our training into practice so that we’re coordinated together and that we can work easily together next time we meet for a real job,” he said.

Inspector Raymond said the Lake Macquarie SAREX is a crucial training exercise to ensure Marine Rescue NSW volunteers are rescue ready with the on water component to begin on Saturday morning when a search and rescue scenario is delivered by Marine Area Command.

“We’re looking at (holding the exercise) offshore depending on conditions on the day.

“About a third of Lake Macquarie’s jobs are offshore and it’s an environment where Water Police and other agencies also need to practice as well.

“The majority of the event will be offshore,” he said.

“On the Saturday we’ve got a vessel exercise which will involve the Central Coast, Terrigal, Tuggerah Lakes, Norah Head, Lake Macquarie, Newcastle, Lemon Tree Passage and Port Stephens units.

“There’s quite a few involved in that, probably 50 or more volunteers.

“We also have a desktop exercise running as well and we have over 50 volunteers involved in that,” Inspector Raymond said.

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