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Search and rescue skills put to the test this weekend

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Marine Rescue, Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service, NSW Police and Surf Lifesaving teams will be among the crews saving lives off the coast of Lake Macquarie this weekend.

The teams are set to test their skills in a life-or-death scenario designed to promote a cohesive approach between the iconic rescue brands.

The major regional multi-discipline Search and Rescue Exercise (SAREX) will be hosted by Marine Rescue Lake Macquarie Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 July.

Marine Rescue Lake Macquarie will host a two-day search and rescue exercise this weekend.

Marine Rescue NSW Hunter Central Coast operations manager Steve Raymond said the annual exercise served a greater purpose.

“These exercises are held to put all our training into practice so that we’re coordinated together and that we can work easily together next time we meet for a real job,” he said.

SAREX Inspector Raymond says it is crucial to ensure teams are rescue ready.

The weekend exercise will begin with a water component on Saturday morning.

This will appear as a search and rescue mission.

“We’re looking at holding the exercise offshore depending on the [weather] conditions on the day,” Inspector Raymond says.

“About a third of Lake Macquarie’s jobs are offshore and it’s an environment where Water Police and other agencies also need to practice as well.”

A Search and Rescue exercise will take place at Swansea Heads on 29 and 30 July.

The majority of the training will be held offshore.

“On the Saturday we’ve got a vessel exercise which will involve the Central Coast, Terrigal, Tuggerah Lakes, Norah Head, Lake Macquarie, Newcastle, Lemon Tree Passage and Port Stephens units,” Inspector Raymond explains.

“There’s quite a few involved in that, probably 50 or more volunteers.

“We also have a desktop exercise running as well and we have over 50 volunteers involved in that.”

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