USCG, Navy, Hawaii First Responders Complete SAREX

An Air Station Barbers Point MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew retrieves a mannequin representing the missing person during a Search and Rescue Exercise (SAREX) on the Island of Hawaii, May 20, 2022. SAREXs are held annually throughout the Hawaiian Islands and are designed to evaluate notification and response procedures and identify shortfalls in communication and coordination of response during SAR incidents. U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard Sector Honolulu.

Members of the U.S. Coast Guard and local and regional first responders in late May conducted a pair of search and rescue exercises in Hawaii.

Coast Guard Sector Honolulu organizes the annual exercise to review alert and response procedures and improve coordination on search and rescue events. The exercises began in Hilo, Hawaii with asset open houses at Hilo International Airport and the Port of Hilo, and included mock searches for a kayaker at Hilo Bayfront Beach Park and a second open-water exercise off Kawaihae.

Participants in this year’s SAREXs in Hawaii also included members of Coast Guard Sector Honolulu Command Center, Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point Dolphin helicopter and HC-130 Hercules, Coast Guard cutter William Hart, U.S Navy SH-60B Seahawk Aircrew, Hawaii County Fire and Police Departments, Hawaii County Emergency Medical Services, Hawaii County Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services, Department of Land and Natural Resources Hawaii Division of Conservation and Resource Enforcement and the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement.

“Each Hawaiian Island is unique and presents its own challenges when it comes to the search and rescue mission,” Coast Guard Sector Honolulu Command Center Chief Lt. Lindsey Neumann said. “SAREXs are great relationship building opportunities that test our interagency collaboration and capabilities to improve our operational effectiveness.”

By Karen Robes Meeks