Search proves suc­cess­ful for wa­ter po­lice and VMR

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

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.

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