Bundaberg's RACQ LifeFlight Rescue and Hervey Bay Water Police put their skills to the test last week in a rigorous training exercise in Woodgate.
Every six months the RACQ LifeFlight Rescue crew are required to conduct the water winch recency training to ensure they are prepared to safely conduct water rescues, including winching people from the water and rescuing stricken vessels.
This time, the Hervey Bay Water Police assisted in their training, leaving the Hervey Bay Harbour early on Thursday, October 14 and travelling offshore from Woodgate.
“From 9am through to 12pm, various simulation exercises were undertaken in partnership with the RACQ LifeFlight Rescue crew and members from Hervey Bay Water Police,” Senior Constable Melanie Ryan said.
“Prior to the commencement of training, one of the RACQ LifeFlight Rescue crew members was winched down to the Water Police vessel.
“The first exercise consisted of a water rescue of a stranded person at sea, where an officer from the Water Police vessel was required to float offshore a short distance from the vessel and the RACQ LifeFlight Rescue crew were required to conduct a water rescue, returning the person to the mainland.
“It was interesting to see the backdraft from the helicopter so close to the water and the techniques required to ensure a safe rescue.”
Snr Const Ryan said the additional exercises consisted of what would be required of stricken vessel, such as receiving a life raft from the RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter, the requirements of members and crew to ensure their safety and securing the vessel and rescuing people from the vessel.
“A further exercise was then undertaken where another officer from the Water Police was required to be rescued and helicoptered back to the safety of the mainland again,” she said.
“Weather conditions play such a big part in ensuring the safe rescue of crew members and the safety of those in the RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter.
“The weather offshore consisted of winds at about 15knots in a northerly direction, and while some on the vessel (who don’t have sea legs) thought it was a little rough, the conditions were ideal for the training.”
Snr Const Ryan said it was always important to consider all the weather conditions, skills surrounding boat safety and most importantly, ensuring you have all the necessary equipment when embarking on any water activities.
“Conditions can deteriorate so quickly on the water, which is why it is so important to have all the boating equipment in working order,” she said.
“It was an absolute pleasure and most definitely a revelation for those non-Water Police officers (aka this Senior Constable) to see just how much work is involved in keeping those out on the water safe.
“A massive thank you to the crew from RACQ LifeFlight Rescue and the Water Police officers for providing the opportunity to undertake this training.
“Remember water safety is paramount when it comes to enjoying and having fun on the water.”