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Rescued solo sailor visits AMSA search and rescue officers

A solo sailor, who was rescued in the Great Australian Bight earlier this month, has met with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) Search and Rescue Officers who coordinated his rescue.

AMSA’s Response Centre coordinated the rescue after Xavier Doerr activated his emergency beacon on 7 July 2023.

AMSA Search and Rescue Officers tasked the Perth-based Challenger aircraft to Mr Doerr’s location, where they communicated with him for 21 hours, before the bulk carrier Theodore JR pulled him from the water.

Mr Doerr visited the AMSA Response Centre in Canberra yesterday, where he met some of the Search and Rescue Officers who coordinated his rescue.

Acting AMSA Response Centre Manager Joe Zeller said the staff were pleased for the opportunity to meet with Mr Doerr and give him a behind-the-scenes tour of the Response Centre.

“We have an outstanding team of search and rescue professionals in AMSA, who are deeply committed to saving lives at sea,” he said.

“This rescue was particularly challenging, as severe weather conditions made Mr Doerr’s retrieval from the water difficult.

“We’re happy to see that Mr Doerr is doing well, and hope the experience of meeting our team has been beneficial.”

Mr Zeller said that activating a registered emergency beacon was key to Mr Doerr’s survival on the water.

“Activating a beacon will let us know immediately that you might be in danger, and in severe weather conditions that can make the difference between life and death,” he said.

“If your beacon goes off, the AMSA Response Centre will immediately spring into action, ascertain the situation, and coordinate a rescue if needed.

“All fishers, boaties and yachties should buy and register one of these life-saving devices.”

Mr Doerr thanked the AMSA Response Centre for their hard work and professionalism during the rescue.

“The team here did a fantastic job – AMSA will always do whatever they can to save a life,” he said.

“But every boater should take safe sailing seriously, before they head out, by making sure they wear a lifejacket, take a registered beacon and alerting someone to their plans.

“If you go out on the water unprepared, you may not come back.”

The AMSA Response Centre is world-recognised as a leader in search and rescue and operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, out of Canberra. It’s staffed by search and rescue professionals with backgrounds in naval, merchant marine, air force, civil aviation, or police services.

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