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September 26, 2023

Search and rescue exercises in Ballina this weekend

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Marine Rescue NSW will take part in the first of three regional Search and Rescue Exercises (SAREX) on the NSW North Coast at Ballina this weekend (June 3 and 4).

Marine Rescue NSW Northern Zone Commander Mal Jeffs said the exercise is vitally important to ensuring Marine Rescue NSW volunteers are rescue ready.

‘We exercise our skills, our training and our coordination, which in this case is with the Marine Area Command, part of the NSW Police, in the work that we do to support them,’ Commander Jeffs said.

The SAREX will be held across Saturday and Sunday and see Marine Rescue NSW volunteers work alongside multiple Emergency Services agencies.

‘This two-day exercise will involve Marine Rescue NSW, Surf Life Saving NSW and the NSW Police particularly the Marine Area Command.

‘Our main goal is to test our capabilities to see how we perform at a high level looking for missing people.

‘We coordinate our searches and our search patterns to try and get positive outcomes for locating and recovering missing vessels, missing people and the like.’

Commander Jeffs said a variety of vessels and craft will be used during the exercise including rescue boats, rescue water craft and a helicopter.

‘We run them (SAREXs) in the area regularly, not necessarily of this size but we test all our capabilities, vessels and personnel including radio operators,’ he said.

Marine Rescue NSW members from the Point Danger, Brunswick, Ballina, Evans Head, Iluka Yamba, Wooli, Coffs Harbour and Crowdy Harrington units will take part in the exercise.

Regional SAREXs are held annually with exercises planned for the Hunter/Central Coast and Batemans Bay later this year.

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

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