ORRCA set to launch whale and dolphin rescue training in Port Macquarie

The next generation of rescue volunteers for seals, whales and dolphins are being called to swim forward.

Residents interested in volunteering to rescue whales, dolphins, seals and dugongs could get their chance with a local training day on Sunday, April 7.

The event is hosted by Organisation for the Rescue and Research of Cetaceans in Australia (ORRCA), the only volunteer licensed group in NSW allowed to rescue the animals.

ORRCA rescue manager Leigh Mansfield said the full day workshop will be comprised of theory and practical tasks to prepare registered members for oceanic action.

"We're the only rescue group in NSW that is licensed under National Parks to carry out rescues," he said.

"These are some of the largest animals on earth and they are sometimes dangerous.

"It's important that volunteers know what to do when they called out and how to handle the animals."

Mr Mansfield said crews would cover Mid North Coast between Forster to Coffs Harbour with 50 to 200 rescues a year, ORRCA receives 3000 calls a year statewide.

"We're the first responders with National Parks," he said.

"The first thing to do is determine if the animal is dead or alive, then the location and whether we can get to it."

The theoretical portion of the workshop consists of biology, reasons for stranding, marine mammal incident co-ordination, legislation and ORRCA protocols.

As well as physical training by conducting practical hands-on sessions about whale and dolphin rescue using training aids filled with water.

Residents interested in the course can book online at www.orrca.org.au by paying $75 for the training and $28 for ORRCA's yearly membership.

ORRCA second vice president and media officer, Jools Farrell said although the training is becoming increasingly popular, not all animals can be saved.

"The training is better and better each year, there seem to be more people wanting to be involved," she said.

"Although it's not always a pretty thing if an animal has been hit by a boat propeller, attacked by a predator or been washed against rocks.

"We work with different authorities for the best outcome of the animals."

Residents can contact ORRCA's 24/7 rescue number on 9415 3333 to report an injured or stranded animal.

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