THE Shoalhaven’s reputation for producing some of the state’s best when it comes to search and rescue operations has continued with a strong showing by local teams at the 2014 Navshield event.
The annual NSW emergency services wilderness navigation shield (Navshield) was this year held locally, near Yalwal, west of Nowra.
Organised each year by the Bushwalkers Wilderness Rescue Squad, the event attracts entries from local, interstate and overseas organisations.
Participants test their bush and compass navigation abilities in an overnight event through 100 square kilometres of wilderness terrain, attempting to navigate to checkpoints throughout the course area on foot both by day and night.
The event is an opportunity for the best navigation and rescue teams in the country to train in self-sufficiency in exciting, unfamiliar terrain.
For others, the event is an opportunity to build navigation skills in a safe, friendly and multi-service environment.
The competition includes the premier two-day event (29 1/4 hours) and an optional one-day event (10 3/4 hours).
This year 125 teams competed, with more than 500 competitors.
Shoalhaven teams again performed strongly, with the Nowra SES Team 1 of Cliff Harris, Scott Wells, Brad Davis, and Geoff Young, having recorded three first placings, two seconds and a third in the previous six years, this year finished second.
For the 14th year in a row the team also took out the SES service category of the event, in the process beating all other emergency service teams.
The Sydney University Bushwalking Club won the overall event this year.
Nowra SES Team 2, comprising Gordon McKeown, Walter Deruyter, Peter Prince, and Nick Nelson, performed well, being ranked 14th overall and third in the SES service category.
The Shoalhaven NSW Ambulance Team of Jason Watson, Matt Willis, Gavin Richardson and Paul Nichols finished fifth overall and were the second highest ranked team in the NSW Ambulance service category.
If you are interested in map reading and wilderness navigation, or a keen bushwalker with a community interest you are welcome to contact the SES (Nowra Unit) and inquire about the Wilderness Search Group.
To be sent more information about volunteering for the SES, call 1800 201 000 (leaving your name and contact details), or simply turn up to any of the Wednesday night meetings at SES Head-quarters, 92 Albatross Road, every Wednesday night at 7pm.