Coast Guard completes search and rescue exercise off Kauai

HONOLULU – Coast Guard and County of Kauai agency personnel successfully completed a search and rescue exercise (SAREX) off Kauai’s coast, Thursday.

The exercise simulated a multi-agency response to the report of an overdue fishing vessel that failed to return to shore.

“The general scenario today is an overdue vessel that didn’t make it back,” said Senior Chief Petty Officer Timothy Elhajj, the officer in charge of Coast Guard Station Kauai. “This scenario allows all the county, state, local, federal, and Coast Guard to practice search and rescue.”

Participating in the exercise included: the United States Coast Guard, Kaua‘i Emergency Management Agency, Kaua’i Fire Department, Kaua’i Police Department, Kauai Ocean Safety Bureau, Civil Air Patrol, and Kauai Search and Rescue K-9 Team.

Volunteers with Kaua‘i Search and Rescue, an organization dedicated to search and rescue training and education, conducted a practice shoreline search and areas in the water near shore.

The open-water exercise was held Thursday beginning at 9 a.m. and ending around noon with the vessel being located.

The partners set up an incident command post at Kukuiula Small Boat Harbor and coordinated the on-scene assets while testing communication systems and strategies between the partners.

Coast Guard Sector Honolulu personnel hold search and rescue exercises bi-annually throughout the Hawaiian Islands. They are designed to evaluate notification and response procedures and identify shortfalls in communication and coordination of response during SAR incidents. Each agency holds individual capabilities that complement each other’s efforts and bolsters the overall success of the SAR system. Familiarity with processes and the people involved are critical to success.

Assets involved in the SAREX were:

  • Coast Guard Sector Honolulu personnel
  • Coast Guard Station Kauai crewmembers
  • Kauai Fire Department crews
  • Kauai Police Department personnel
  • Lihue Airport Fire Department crews
  • Kauai Ocean Safety Bureau responders
  • Kaua’i Police Department
  • Kauai Emergency Management Agency personnel
  • Civil Air Patrol pilots
  • Kauai K9 Search and Rescue team members

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