Ahead of the busiest boating week of the year, Marine Rescue NSW is asking boaters and paddlers to play it safe and ensure they are well prepared before heading out on the water.
Marine Rescue NSW Commissioner Stacey Tannos said over the peak summer period Marine Rescue’s over 3,000 professionally-trained volunteers would be on watch right along the NSW coastline from the Queensland border to Eden and on the Alpine Lakes and Murray River at Moama, with extra boats on the water to cope with the projected demand.
“With travel overseas and to some interstate destinations remaining challenging, we expect boaters to again flock to our spectacular NSW coastline in record numbers in coming weeks,” he said.
“We are also expecting many inexperienced boaters and paddlers trying out their first boat, jet-ski or kayak. Coupled with a spike in boating traffic, this means an increased risk of boaters running into trouble on the water, with Marine Rescue’s volunteers ready for an increased demand on their life-saving services.”
Mr Tannos said all MRNSW units had focused on increased training in recent months to ensure their crews were rescue-ready for the peak summer season, with preparations made to boost capability and response times over the summer.
“Marine Rescue volunteers will be a strong visible presence on the state’s waterways this summer, particularly during the peak Christmas – New Year period.”
“We have extra patrols scheduled in high-traffic locations, with rescue vessels and Rescue Water Craft pre-deployed to areas of known risk such as hazardous coastal bars, to ensure crews can be quickly on the scene of an emergency.
“As we do every summer, senior staff will be based in the NSW Police Force Marine Area Command base at East Balmain to ensure the seamless coordination of emergency response operations.”
Mr Tannos said the extra boating traffic on the water meant boaters needed to take extra precautions to stay safe, including:
· Logging On with Marine Rescue NSW via VHF Channel 16 or the free MarineRescue App. If you’re not back as scheduled, our professionally trained staff will start to search for you saving vital seconds in an emergency.
· Ensure everyone on board is wearing a lifejacket.
· Carry safety equipment such as flares, first aid kit and EPIRB and know how to use them.
· Check the sea and weather conditions before heading out and throughout your trip.
· Ensuring that your vessel is serviced and in good order, and there is plenty of fuel for the journey.
Images: recently delivered Marine Rescue NSW rescue vessels Evans Head 30 and Port Kembla 30 together + Rescue vessel Port Macquarie 21 on patrol on the Hastings River.