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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

Rescues soar despite wet summer dampening boating season

Wet weather has failed to dampen boating activities this summer, putting Marine Rescue NSW crews on track to match or exceed the total number of rescues recorded in the 2020-21 boating season.

Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience and Minister for Flood Recovery Steph Cooke said 60 per cent of all boating rescues were due to preventable incidents like engine failure, flat batteries and running out on fuel.

“The warmer weather over recent weeks has drawn many to the State’s coastline and waterways and there are simple precautions every boater can take to reduce the risk of running into trouble,” Ms Cooke said.

“Taking the time to prepare your vessel, having the necessary safety equipment on board and boating safely when you do hit the water can make the difference between a great day out and a potentially life-threatening emergency.

“I also want to commend all Marine Rescue NSW volunteers for their thousands of hours of dedicated service to keeping our coastline and waterways as safe as possible this summer.”

Marine Rescue Commissioner Stacey Tannos said over the course of the boating season, Marine Rescue NSW volunteers helped thousands of people and pets safely back to shore.

“Some incidents responded to were potentially life-threatening situations in difficult weather and sea conditions, and I’m immensely proud of the efforts of all our volunteers,” Commissioner Tannos said.

“It’s vital that boaters get their vessels regularly serviced and take the time to properly plan their day out on the water to minimise the likelihood of a serious incident occurring.

“One of the best way boaters can stay safe on the water is to Log On with their local Marine Rescue base. Logging on means that if you don’t log off as expected, we will come searching for you, saving vital seconds if you are incapacitated in an emergency and cannot call for help.

“I urge all boaters to Log On using the Marine Rescue app or on their marine radios using VHF Channel 16.”

The official boating season runs from 1 October to ANZAC Day. Key statistics for the 2021-22 boating season are as follows:

  • 41,730 boats carrying more than 140,000 people “Logged On” with Marine Rescue NSW;

  • Marine Rescue NSW volunteers helped 6,433 people including 664 children and 67 pets;

  • Boaters aged 35 and over accounted for 70 per cent of all rescues; and

  • 62 per cent of boaters rescued described themselves as ‘somewhat experienced’ or ‘very experienced’.

Above: search for a missing fisherman off Kiama with rescue vessel Shellharbour 30

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