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Marine Rescue NSW sees spike in rescue missions in September

Marine Rescue NSW volunteers across the state have experienced their busiest September on record, completing 361 rescue missions and returning 782 people to shore last month.

The previous busiest September for the Service was in 2022 with 230 rescue missions.

Of last month’s 361 rescue missions, 103 were emergencies.

Marine Rescue NSW Commissioner Alex Barrell said the spike in rescue missions came after fewer calls for assistance from boaters in August.

“On the back of a recent run of good weather we’ve seen a large number of boaters on the state’s waterways and last month Marine Rescue NSW volunteers responded to their largest amount of rescues since April.

“On the back of a record year of rescues and assisting boaters in NSW, Marine Rescue has completed its busiest first quarter ever with rescues up 25% on same period last year,” he said.

Five MAYDAY calls were received last month with Marine Rescue NSW volunteers managing 19,807 radio calls through local unit bases and the State Communications Centre at Belrose.

6,039 boaters Logged On with Marine Rescue NSW in September predominately by marine radio VHF Channel 16 or the free Marine Rescue app.

Boaters who Log On with Marine Rescue NSW are assured that the Service will start looking for them if they do not return form their voyage as planned.

With the boating season beginning on 1 October, Commissioner Barrell said Marine Rescue NSW is expecting to receive many calls for assistance over the coming months.

“Marine Rescue NSW knows that simple mechanical issues on the water can develop into life-threatening situations and we ask people using the state’s waterways to enjoy this summer like your life depends on it.

“Our message to boaters is that it is really important to check the weather, check their vessel, their battery, their safety equipment and make sure that they have enough fuel and some in reserve before they head out on the water,” Commissioner Barrell said.

47% of incidents in September were caused by engine problems while 7% of rescue responses were for grounded vessels.

“Engine, battery and fuel issues continue to be a catalyst for rescues but our volunteers also responded to an increased number of groundings in September, boaters need to be aware of the tides, the environment and the conditions to avoid grounding their vessel and potentially ending up in an emergency situation,” Commissioner Barrell said.

Greater Sydney was the busiest region in the state with 136 rescue missions while volunteers on the Hunter Central Coast responded to 111 incidents.

Rescues in the Illawarra almost doubled from August to September with crews from the region undertaking 37 rescues while 30 rescues were completed in the Northern Rivers, 29 on the Mid North Coast and 18 in the Monaro region.

Marine Rescue NSW Breakdown of Rescue numbers by Region – September 2023

Northern Rivers

Total Rescues (across all 7 Northern Rivers Units) – 30

Locations of highest demand Number of rescues

  • Point Danger – 9
  • Ballina – 8
  • Evans Head – 4
Mid North Coast

Total Rescues (across all 9 Mid North Coast Units) – 29

Locations of highest demand Number of rescues

  • Forster/Tuncurry – 9
  • Port Macquarie – 7
  • Coffs Harbour – 6
Hunter/Central Coast

Total Rescues (across all 8 Hunter/Central Coast Units) – 111

Locations of highest demand Number of rescues

  • Lake Macquarie – 58
  • Central Coast – 21
  • Port Stephens – 18
Greater Sydney

Total Rescues (across all 7 Greater Sydney Units) – 136

Locations of highest demand Number of rescues

  • Botany Port Hacking – 44
  • Sydney (State Communications Centre) – 31
  • Port Jackson – 19

Total Rescues (across all 7 Illawarra Units) – 37

Locations of highest demand Number of rescues

  • Port Kembla – 16
  • Jervis Bay – 11
  • Shoalhaven – 6

Total Rescues (across all 8 Monaro Units) – 18

Locations of highest demand Number of rescues

  • Batemans Bay – 11
  • Narooma – 2
  • Tuross Moruya – 2

Marine Rescue NSW is a volunteer based not-for-profit professional organisation dedicated to keeping boaters safe on the water and supporting local communities.

For more information on Marine Rescue, visit their website here