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Marine Rescue Port Stephens crew completes marathon rescue mission in challenging conditions

Volunteers from Marine Rescue Port Stephens have safely returned two people to shore after their 9-10 metre sail catamaran lost engine power six nautical miles southeast of Seal Rocks early this morning.

Marine Rescue NSW Inspector Courtney Greenslade said volunteer radio operators at Marine Rescue Port Stephens answered a call for assistance around 3:20am.

“The skipper of the distressed vessel advised Marine Rescue Port Stephens that they had lost engine power and couldn’t put up their sails because of rough conditions offshore.

“At the request of NSW Police Marine Area Command a volunteer crew was assembled with rescue vessel Port Stephens 31 deployed just after 5am.

“Conditions were extremely challenging throughout the entire mission with the PS 31 crew battling two to three metre swell and wind gusts in excess of 50km/h,” she said.

Port Stephens 31 reached the distressed vessel at 7:20am and secured a towline before making the slow trip back to Nelson Bay.

“The return trip was a delicate six hour operation because of the conditions and the weight of the sail cat.

“Port Stephens 31 safely guided the distressed vessel and its crew to shore at Nelson Bay.

“Both people on board the sail cat were ok while our crew was fatigued after eight hours on water.

“Our radio operators at Marine Rescue Port Stephens also did an exceptional job managing communications for the rescue mission,” Inspector Greenslade said.

A strong marine wind warning is currently in place for the Hunter Coast and boaters should always check conditions before heading out on the water.

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