Big turnout for combined sea search, rescue exercise
MARINE search and rescue personnel from the Northern Rivers were put to the test at the region's annual joint-agency search and rescue exercise (SAREX) at Yamba at the weekend.
The exercise culminated in a search for rescue dummies dropped in the ocean on Sunday morning.
Up to 50 volunteers from seven Marine Rescue NSW units - Point Danger, Brunswick, Cape Byron, Ballina, Evans Head, Iluka-Yamba and Wooli - assembled for the theoretical and practical exercises.
They were joined by personnel from the NSW Police Force Marine Area Command, Ambulance Service of NSW, Australian Navy, Westpac Rescue Helicopter and Surf Life Saving Australia.
Four MRNSW vessels, along with the police boat, Fearless, and Navy and Westpac helicopters, were also involved.
MRNSW deputy commissioner Dean Storey said the SAREX was one of a regular series of exercises staged each year to hone crews' expertise and test agencies' rescue co-ordination and procedures.
"This exercise, the final one for 2013, is an integral component of our Northern Rivers units' annual training program," he said.
Vessels, aircraft, surf life saving jet skis and inflatable rubber boats joined Sunday's offshore exercise, searching for rescue dummies dropped offshore.
Two Marine Rescue Iluka-Yamba craft were the co-ordinating vessels.