ACTION aplenty on the waterways recently saw Marine Rescue units from Lake Macquarie, Nelson Bay and Lemon Tree Passage unite to hone their skills.
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This they did this in tandem with water police in a mock rescue/recovery exercise in the waters off the Port.
The situation had a distress signal, reportedly from a 5.5metre white runabout with two people on board being received from an area somewhere between Broughton Island and the entrance to the Port.
A visual search from land failed to locate the stricken craft so a search and recovery mission was mounted.
After studying an admiralty chart and factoring in wind and tidal considerations, they marked out an area for a ‘creeping search’.
This consisted of several vessels in line abeam formation covering the area.
Unbeknown to them a life-size dummy and flotsam and jetsam had been set adrift to test their skills.
A debriefing session at the Lemon Tree flotilla’s base station analysed the effectiveness of the operation.
Commander Richard Osborne OAM recently travelled to Port Macquarie for a leadership course.
“The message must be getting through,” he said.
“Statistics show that over the past 12 months, rescues have fallen some 80 percent on the previous year.”
By Geoff WALKER