CREWS from three volunteer rescue organisations joined forces off Safety Beach last week for coordinated water training exercises. The Water Police took an active role and oversaw the exercises on Sunday 31 July.
About 40 volunteers from Southern Peninsula Rescue Squad, Mornington Volunteer Marine Rescue, and Safety Beach and Queenscliff Coast Guards, manned six boats to practise man overboard drills and search and rescue operations at sea.
Crews reported that the sight of the rescue vessels all lined up in Martha Cove was “impressive”.
The aim of the exercises was to simulate the demands and dangers of real life rescues, especially in the upcoming boating season.
In one training scenario, crews were called out to find a “woman” – in reality a dummy – who had “fallen overboard” from a ship. They found “her”, but were then called on to find her “husband” who had “jumped in to save his wife”. Like most practice sessions, this was based on a realistic scenario, with water police using tide and drift maps to pinpoint the locations of the dummies.
Graeme McGillivray, of VMR Mornington, said crews from all boats did a line search with simulated time lapses about 2.5 nautical miles off Safety Beach.
“The idea was to get everyone working in line,” he said. “Lots of things were achieved on the day.”
Coast Guard Safety Beach’s Mark Brookes described the joint operation as “very successful”.
He said he looked forward to working with the other volunteer rescue organisations in future. “There’s no suggestion that we work against each other, but with each other,” he said.
Volunteer crews from the three organisations are on call 24 hours a day year round to help those who find themselves in trouble on the water. This could include sinking vessels, or those with flat batteries or mechanical problems. Other boats may have run aground and need towing back to shore.
The training also strengthened the links between the three organisations. It was organised by Safety Beach Coast Guard.