Successful sea exercise buoys rescue personnel

A BURNS victim on a stranded boat and a person missing from the same vessel were rescued in a combined police, SES and Surf Life Saving Tasmania personnel rescue exercise at Bridport yesterday.

And while it was only a drill, exercise controller Paul Hawkins said it was just that sort of event that ensured the same result in real life.

Mr Hawkins said that the search and rescue exercise was designed to test and evaluate the skills of those surf life-saving Tasmania members likely to involved in such operations.

"The day started with a theory component including search patterns and how to manage an incident scene," he said.

"Once that was completed, we went on to the water and practised search patterns, after which the exercise itself started.

"For the purpose of the exercise, a boat had broken down with a fire on board. There were six people on board, one of whom suffered burns, one stayed with that person on board and the other four decided to swim to shore for help.

"Two people make it to shore 6 kilometres down the coast and a third is able to alert the police, but a fourth cannot be found."

Mr Hawkins said that rescue vessels conducted line searches to locate the missing person while the two people still on the boat were rescued. It was imperative to find missing people in the shortest time because life expectancy could be as low as two hours, he said.

Sergeant Mike Gillies, of police search and rescue, spoke about the importance of rescue personnel being honest and realistic about estimated arrival times. "Don't say you will be there in 50 minutes because you want to be there in that time, but it's always going to take longer," he said.

Ulverstone's Rod Solomon keeping alert during yesterday's exercise at Bridport.

Ulverstone's Rod Solomon keeping alert during yesterday's exercise at Bridport.

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