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Boating season begins with record number of missions by Marine Rescue NSW

Marine Rescue NSW volunteers across the state were involved in a record 386 search and rescue missions in October making it the Service’s busiest ever start to a boating season, which runs from 1 October to 25 April.

The previous busiest October for Marine Rescue NSW was in 2020 when crews completed 376 missions.

Marine Rescue NSW Commissioner Alex Barrell said just over a quarter of responses last month were for emergency situations.

“During October, our volunteers responded to 101 emergencies including 7 MAYDAY calls, almost a dozen medical emergencies, capsized vessels and search and rescue missions for missing people,” Commissioner Barrell said.

57% of calls for assistance received by Marine Rescue NSW volunteers in October were for mechanical or fuel issues.

“We are pleading with boaters to make sure that their vessel is in good working order before heading out, please carry enough fuel with some in reserve and make sure everyone on board is wearing a lifejacket,” Commissioner Barrell said.

818 people were safely returned to shore by Marine Rescue NSW volunteers across the state last month including four adults on a recreational fishing boat, which suffered mechanical failure in difficult seas eight nautical miles (15kms) off Forresters Beach on the Central Coast.  In a joint response, volunteer crews from Marine Rescue Terrigal and Cottage Point returned the disabled vessel and persons on board safely to Parsley Bay on the Hawkesbury River.

Marine Rescue NSW volunteers managed 16,074 radio calls through local unit bases and the State Communications Centre at Belrose during October and Commissioner Barrell is reminding boaters of the importance of Logging On with Marine Rescue NSW.

“Just over 4,000 boaters Logged On with the Service last month predominately by marine radio VHF channel 16 or through the free Marine Rescue app,’’ Commissioner Barrell said.

With the boating season beginning with such high demand for Marine Rescue NSW across the state, Minister for Emergency Services Jihad Dib praised the Service’s 3,365 volunteers and urged boaters to Log On to ensure volunteers could assist.

“Boaters can be assured that the committed volunteers at Marine Rescue NSW have their back in the event they need assistance on the water.

“Their dedication ensures that the state’s waterways remain as safe as possible.

“Boaters who Log On with Marine Rescue NSW are assured that their volunteers will start looking for them if they don’t return as planned,” Minister Dib said.

Commissioner Barrell said Logging On with Marine Rescue NSW saves vital time when crews are called for a rescue.

“We know Logging On can help save lives and we ask all boaters to make it a habit when they head out on the water,” Commissioner Barrell said.

Greater Sydney was the busiest region in the state with 161 search and rescue missions during October while crews on the Hunter Central Coast responded to 126 incidents.

Marine Rescue NSW volunteers in the Illawarra were involved in 36 missions while there were 27 on the Mid North Coast, 18 in the Northern Rivers and 18 in the Monaro region.

Marine Rescue NSW Breakdown of search & rescue numbers by Region – October 2023

Northern Rivers

Total Rescues (across all 7 Northern Rivers Units) – 18

Locations of highest demand Number of rescues

  • Point Danger – 7
  • Ballina – 6
  • Brunswick – 2
Mid North Coast

Total Rescues (across all 9 Mid North Coast Units) – 27

Locations of highest demand Number of rescues

  • Forster/Tuncurry – 8
  • Port Macquarie – 8
  • Coffs Harbour – 5
Hunter/Central Coast

Total Rescues (across all 8 Hunter/Central Coast Units) – 126

Locations of highest demand Number of rescues

  • Lake Macquarie – 54
  • Central Coast – 35
  • Port Stephens – 18
Greater Sydney

Total Rescues (across all 7 Greater Sydney Units) – 161

Locations of highest demand Number of rescues

  • Botany Port Hacking – 38
  • Sydney (State Communications Centre) – 37
  • Port Jackson – 33
  • Cottage Point – 18

Total Rescues (across all 7 Illawarra Units) – 36

Locations of highest demand Number of rescues

  • Port Kembla – 14
  • Jervis Bay – 9
  • Sussex Inlet – 5

Total Rescues (across all 8 Monaro Units) – 18

Locations of highest demand Number of rescues

  • Batemans Bay – 14
  • 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.