Mandurah emergency services put their skills to the test during major training exercise

Mandurah emergency services joined forces to undertake a major sea rescue recently, as part of an intense training exercise to test their capabilities. 

The exercise on May 9, involved a mock emergency which included two people going missing after taking their boat out on a fishing trip from the Dawesville Marina.

A boat was even intentionally overturned in Harvey Estuary for the exercise.

Mandurah Volunteer Marine Rescue (VMR), the Department of Transport (DoT), Peel Water Police and the Department of Fire and Emergency Service (DFES) were involved in the exercise. 

The training also tested the technical and logistical systems in place during emergencies.  

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There were only a few people from each organisation in the loop about the test run, so that the situation was as real as possible for emergency service personal. 

About 25 people were involved in the test operation, which took about three months to organise. 

The test ran from 11am, when the mock boat logged on at the marina, until 8.30pm. 

Peel Water Police regional operations manager Sergeant Troy Pillage said each year local emergency services endeavoured to run one major training event.

“We do a lot of smaller ones with Mandurah VMR but we try to do one quite significant one a year, in winter,” he said. 

“Search and rescues are normally coordinated out of Fremantle Water Police. 

“We’ve got an operations group here which is a state-wide back-up for Fremantle Water Police if something happens to there operations up there. 

“One person from there came down to help our operations room.

“It went well. We certainly got a lot out of it.”

He said mock phone calls from senior police figures and media crews were also generated to test emergency service personal. 

He credited all agencies involved, stating all parties worked well together in the fake crisis.

“Were in the same office as Department of Transport and Fisheries and just across the way from Mandurah VMR so I think we do work really well [together],” he said.

“We communicate a lot and we know were things usually go wrong during searches and we work on that all the time.”

Some of the more high profile jobs addressed by the organisations recently include January’s yachting tragedy, which killed two sailors when their boat overturned off the coast of Mandurah, and locating a 52 -year-old fisherman in Peel Estuary after he went missing for a significant period of time. 

The primary tasks the Peel Water Police address each week include crime on or around the water and search and rescue.