It may look like there is a mayday situation happening in Swansea channel this morning, but it is most likely Marine Rescue Lake Macquarie practicing its emergency rescue procedures near the sand bar.
The service will use its rescue boat and two jet skis, complete with flashing red and blue lights, to travel into the channel just after 9am and pull two volunteers - one pretending to be unconscious - from the water near an overturned boat.
The crew will triage the patients before returning to retrieve the overturned boat and any debris.
Unit commander Malcolm Druce told the Newcastle Herald the training exercise was important because the bar in the channel presented a challenge, even to experienced skippers and watercraft users.
He said his crew was recently called to help a jet ski rider who was spotted by the rescue unit's radio operator trying - and failing - to get back onto his jet ski after coming off in the channel.
Mr Druce said the rider was being sucked out to sea.
"They had all their safety gear in place, they went out in pairs - they did everything right but they underestimated the conditions of the bar and that's quite a common thing," he said.
"The bar is at its worst in an outgoing tide with a nor-easterly breeze. That's what they hadn't really understood.
"It kind of reminded us we really need to keep our toes in the channel itself - we do a lot of [training] in the lake and offshore.
"Crossing bars is always an issue. We do monitor that bar very, very closely. Bars are always tricky, even when you've got a lot of experience."
Mr Druce said the unit had been "pretty active" lately and had responded to several calls for help in the channel in recent months.
He said many people appeared to notice that boating and watercraft use had not been as impacted by COVID-19 restrictions as other leisure activities.
"People are taking advantage of it," Mr Druce said on Friday.
"We are hearing a lot of anecdotal evidence of a lot more boats being purchased, people aren't spending their money on overseas trips, they are going on Australian holidays and doing something around the water.
"The demand is up, there's no doubt."
The training is expected to start about 9.15am in Swansea channel.
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