Search proves successful for water police and VMR
FIVE Volunteer Marine Rescue (VMR) units from the Whitsundays, Mackay, Midge Point, Bowen and the Burdekin, took part in a search and rescue training exercise (SAREX) co-ordinated by the Whitsunday Water Police on Saturday, August 3.
Water police Senior Constable Brett Norris said more than 40 VMR members attended the day which was the best turn out for a SAREX he had seen in 13 years.
“It was commendable that so many volunteers were willing to give up their weekend to take part,” he said. As part of the exercise, a floating dummy designed to resemble a person was deployed in the water near South Molle Island, 14 hours before the search began.
The five VMR units were then tasked to find the dummy after search coordinators calculated an estimated search area of about 50 square nautical miles. They successfully retrieved it near its calculated position in the Whitsunday Passage.
A social barbecue and debriefing concluded the day’s training event at the Whitsunday Water Police base.
Senior Constable John Latham said this provided an opportunity for VMR members and the Water Police to get to know each other in a social atmosphere.
“Feedback from the crews involved was that the day was a huge success and had provided valuable training,” he said.
VMR Whitsunday vice president Tom Manning agreed, saying the day was also a good opportunity to meet members of the neighbouring squads.
Constable Latham said people heading out on the water could greatly increase their chances of survival if they followed the basic rules of boating.
“Have a reliable boat, check the weather, let people know where you are going and expected time of return (log on with VMR), ensure all of your safety equipment is in good order, easily accessible and in date, carry a VHF radio and registered EPIRB if venturing offshore and know how to use it, and finally don’t mix alcohol and boating,” he said.
SEARCH AND RESCUE: Five VMR units took part in a search and rescue training exercise co-ordinated by the Whitsunday Water Police on Saturday, August 3.