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Marine Rescue NSW volunteers to hone skills in major training exercise off Bondi Beach

Marine Rescue NSW is hosting a major Search and Rescue Exercise (SAREX) this Saturday, 22 June and for the first time it is being held off Bondi Beach.

50 Marine Rescue NSW volunteers from seven units across Greater Sydney (Port Jackson, Middle Harbour, Sydney – State Communications Centre, Botany Port Hacking, Broken Bay, Cottage Point and Hawkesbury) along with members of NSW Police Marine Area Command and Surf Life Saving NSW will take part in the exercise.

Marine Rescue NSW Central Zone Commander Dan Duemmer said it is the biggest Marine Rescue NSW SAREX to ever to be held in Greater Sydney with up to 15 vessels involved.

“This training exercise is extremely important for all agencies as we get to collaborate and put together our training and exercises we conduct throughout the year to come together for a large scale multi-agency search and rescue event,” he said.

The exercise will be coordinated by NSW Police Marine Area Command who will deliver a search and rescue scenario in real-time on Saturday morning.

“Marine Rescue NSW vessels will be deployed from their bases to a central location by notification that there are multiple people in the water needing urgent assistance.

“These crews will be required to locate up to four manikins using specialised drift modelling and search patterns along with their training and expert techniques to locate the manikins in a timely manner.

“This real-time exercise showcases exactly what we do day in, day out.

“We conduct drills and do training and exercises for the day when we get the call to go and save someone’s life at sea,” he said.

Volunteer crews’ on-water will be supported by radio operators from the Marine Rescue NSW State Communications Centre at Belrose, the forward Command Post at Marks Park, Tamarama and officers from NSW Police Marine Area Command at Balmain.

“Clear communication is vital in any mission, our State Communications Centre will act as a Search and Rescue Coordination Centre and will be the heart and engine room of Marine Rescue NSW’s operations on-water,” Zone Commander Duemmer said.

He also emphasized that the community should not be concerned by the number of rescue vessels and activity off Bondi Beach from 9am Saturday morning.

“To the members of the public and boaters who might see us out there, don’t be alarmed, we are out there doing a controlled exercise.

“People may also see a helicopter during the exercise.

“It could be quite exciting (for members of the public) from certain vantage points around the coastal area,” Zone Commander Duemmer said.

All Marine Rescue NSW Greater Sydney units involved will maintain radio and on-water response in their local areas during the Bondi Beach exercise.

“The community can be assured that in the event of a real emergency on our waterways, our rescue craft and crews are ready to respond,” Zone Commander Duemmer said.

The NSW Government is providing financial assistance for the Greater Sydney SAREX.

Minister for Emergency Services The Hon. Jihad Dib said the Minns Government is committed to supporting the vital work of Marine Rescue NSW and its 3,400 volunteers.

“The dedicated Marine Rescue NSW volunteers from the Greater Sydney region completed more than 1,200 search and rescue missions last year and this exercise is crucial to ensuring rapid response and keeping people on our waterways safe.

“It is also vitally important that agencies have opportunities like this Saturday’s simulation to exercise together so they are better prepared for multi-agency operations,” he said.

Marine Rescue NSW is a volunteer based not-for-profit professional organisation dedicated to keeping boaters safe on the water and supporting local communities.