Canterbury Search & Rescue Volunteers To Be Tested

Press Release – Coastguard

Coastguard units in the Canterbury region are joining together to test their skills this weekend in a full-scale Search and Rescue Exercise (SAREX). Code named ‘Tawhiri’ (Maori God of Wind and Storm), the exercise, which was postponed in August due to …4 November 2011

Canterbury Search & Rescue Volunteers To Be Tested

Coastguard units in the Canterbury region are joining together to test their skills this weekend in a full-scale Search and Rescue Exercise (SAREX).

Code named ‘Tawhiri’ (Maori God of Wind and Storm), the exercise, which was postponed in August due to a real life search and rescue operation, involves volunteers from four charitable search and rescue agencies and Police responding to a ‘true to life’ marine emergency.

In addition to the three Coastguard units (Canterbury, Waimakiriri-Ashley, Sumner Lifeboat) and the Coastguard Canterbury Air Patrol, the SAREX is an integral part of the “one SAR” philosophy promoted by the NZ Search and Rescue Secretariat and is being co-ordinated with the New Zealand Police, Surf Lifesaving and LandSAR.

Coastguard volunteers will not know what to expect this weekend when their pagers go off. It could be one of any number of incidents faced on a regular basis by Coastguard such as an aircraft down in the sea; a lost canoeist or a sinking boat! This exercise provides Coastguard volunteers with an opportunity to put into practice their skills in as close to a realistic situation as possible.

Mark Whitehouse, Exercise Director for the SAREX, says the aim of the SAREX is to get everyone working together so that when a real emergency happens we have the best chance of saving lives at sea, working together as one search and rescue team.

“The more Coastguard and other agencies practice together, the more it becomes second nature to our volunteers to respond effectively in a real emergency. When someone is in trouble, we want to instinctively put into practice all our skills and knowledge to save lives at sea” says Whitehouse.

Search & Rescue Exercise (SAREX) – Tawhiri (Maori God of Wind & Storm)
When: Saturday AM 5th November 2011
Where: Canterbury Area
About Coastguard New Zealand

Coastguard is the charity that provides New Zealand’s primary maritime search and rescue service. The organisation operates from a network of four regions and 71 affiliated units, located around the coastline and major lakes of New Zealand. Coastguard New Zealand is a volunteer organisation with a charitable status. It has more than 18,000 supporter members and 2,244 active Professional Volunteers who provide around 350,000 hours of their time each year to educate, protect and help save lives at sea. Coastguard performs over 3,000 rescues each year assisting almost 7,000 New Zealanders. There are currently 72 dedicated rescue vessels in Coastguard New Zealand’s fleet, 10 air patrol units and one dedicated communications unit. All crew members on board Coastguard vessels and air patrol craft are trained search and rescue personnel working to enhance the safety of all New Zealanders when they participate in boating and water activities.

ENDS

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