Helicopters, fixed wing aircraft and a wildlife cleaning facility were only some of the resources brought to Narooma for the state's biggest oil spill exercise on Wednesday and Thursday, March 12-13.
About 120 specialists from across the state were put through their paces over the two-day training operation led by NSW Maritime.
The scenario involved an oil tanker which lost 800 tonnes of its cargo off the coast.
NSW Maritime marine pollution and emergency response manager, Shayne Wilde, said the priority was to protect responders and community health and safety, followed by the environment and socio-economic impacts.
He said an incident of this scale would have extreme impact, however the probability of it happening along our coast was low.
A makeshift incident control centre was set up at the Narooma Golf Club where scientists, aviation experts, NSW Police, Transport for NSW Maritime, NSW DPI, Rural Fire Service, Fire and Rescue, National Parks and Wildlife and NSW Environment Protection Authority all worked together to get "the best possible outcome".
Excluding labour, Mr Wilde said the training exercise cost about $100,000 over the two days.
"It's a significant undertaking and COVID has impacted our ability to hold these exercises," he said.
"We planned to hold this exercise three-years ago at Narooma, but had been delayed.
"We wanted to continue that commitment because we know coastal and regional communities in southern NSW had been hit by fires and floods. It also brings another injection into the local economy.
"If we are going to hold an exercise, why not hold it in a regional area and engage on a regional basis," he said.
"It also gives us the opportunity to look at a highly sensitive environment like Montague Island."
In the event of an actual incident, Mr Wilde said costs of the response is often recovered through insurers of the vessel.
On Wednesday, the framework was set out to respond to the incident.
"We did pre-assessment of all the beaches and estuaries, which allows us to determine response options," Mr Wilde said.
Fluorescein die was used to simulate the oil slick. Fixed wing aircraft used fresh water to simulate the spraying of dispersant, hitting their target only 10-feet from the water's surface.
Observers in helicopters guided from above.
"Dispersant is a good response option to reduce 10-20 percent of the volume of oil which would eventually come ashore," Mr Wilde said.
"It also reduces the oil on the surface, reducing wildlife impacts."
On Thursday, shoreline facilities were set up as well as a wildlife treatment and rehabilitation centre at Nata Oval.
"This can cater for up to 2000 oiled wildlife," he said.
A ready-to-go wildlife cleaning facility was part of the centre.
"It's already pre-set up for washing oiled wildlife before they go into a treatment system," Mr Wilde said.
Wildlife specialists, led by NSW DPI, and an international expert from Taronga Zoo, worked on a concept layout of the area for treatment and long-term rehabilitation.
"We may have to hold birds for up to six-months before releasing them back into the environment," Mr Wilde said.
"It's a big operation."
Mr Wilde said a band of oil around a penguins neck can affect their waterproofing, resulting in hyporthermia.
"If they had lots of oil on them, they start to preen themselves and digest the oil, which would make them really sick," he said.
The portable oiled wildlife cleaning facility is based in Sydney and can be dispatched anywhere in the state within 24hrs. Mr Wilde said ducks were used in training.
"We learn how to wash them, take and analyse blood for their health, put a tube down their throat and feed them the right amount," he said.