Marine rescue exercise held for first time at Windy Harbour

Anjelica SmilovitisManjimup-Bridgetown Times
Marine rescue volunteers gathered at Windy Harbour for the first time.
Camera IconMarine rescue volunteers gathered at Windy Harbour for the first time. Credit: Supplied

A group of South West marine rescue volunteers gathered at Windy Harbour earlier this month to practice vital rescue skills.

The South Coast 2024 MARSAR EX was held for the first time in the town on April 12 and 13, with Marine Rescue Windy Harbour hosting the annual multi-group and vessel exercise.

Crews from Denmark, Walpole, Peaceful Bay, Augusta joined the local group with Sergeant Craig Anderson from the Water Police and DFES district officer Danial Pell helping to co-ordinating the exercises.

The two-day event started a barbecue and presentation from Sgt Anderson, before 45 attendees were led through an early morning briefing on Saturday to conduct a practice rescue mission.

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The exercise scenario, which involved a training rescue mission to find missing people who hadn’t return from a day’s fishing, was successful with all four targets located.

Windy Harbor Group’s volunteer commander Fabio Renzullo said it had been an important drill to help gain and share knowledge.

“The exercise has never been done before off Windy,” he said.

“There was good teamwork and camaraderie with the neighbouring marine rescue groups from Walpole, Peaceful Bay, Denmark and Augusta.

“Yes, it’s training, but there could be an actual search off Windy Harbor, and I’ll be calling on them - it’s about familiarisation.

“We can say we’ve got all these certificates, but experience is very important.

Mr Renzullo said there was a diverse range of marine rescue groups across the State and told the Times it was important they stayed active.

“I really believe that we need volunteers. We all see ambulances. We all see fire trucks on the road. You never see marine rescue boats,” he said.

“I want people to be aware that we’re out there. This is what we do.”

“We’re sometimes unseen, so that’s why we try to engage and give back to the community as much as we can.”

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