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Byron Shire
January 29, 2023

Surge in boating rescues across the State

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Marine Rescue NSW is asking boaters to ensure they are well prepared and to take it easy on the State’s waterways after a surge in boating rescues during December.

During October and November there were 707 rescues performed across the State, just over 11 per day, according to the rescue service.

In December the number of rescues surged to 602 with nearly 20 rescues performed each day, over half of which were for boats with flat batteries, engine failure or who had run out of fuel.

‘Summer is a great time to be out on our beautiful waterways, but sadly many boaters are finishing their day on the water early and at the end of a tow line behind one of our rescue vessels,’ Deputy Commissioner Barrell said.

‘Many of these rescues could have been avoided with some careful planning and better boat
maintenance and preparation.’

Mr Barrell said that boaters thinking of heading out should ensure that their vessel’s engine and battery had been recently serviced, and they are carrying enough of fuel for the journey with plenty in reserve.

‘Our crews are also seeing many boaters not wearing, and in some cases, not carrying, lifejackets,’ he said.

‘Every boat is required to have a lifejacket on board for each passenger, and the skipper should be ensuring that they and everyone on board, even the pet dog, are wearing one.’

‘It’s also a good idea to check the weather conditions before heading out, and if you’re holidaying in an unfamiliar location, to find out about local bar and channel conditions, and to Log On with the local Marine Rescue NSW base on VHF Channel 16 or via the Marine Rescue NSW app.’

Jonathan Wilcock from Brunswick Heads Marine Rescue said it was vital to check your boat before heading out.

‘There are a few things to look out for: dirty or stale fuel, flat batteries, general engine maintenance,’ Mr Wilcock said.

‘You don’t want to be stuck out at sea when one of these things goes wrong, then it becomes a rescue. You need to get your boat serviced if you haven’t had it done since last summer, and you need to change the fuel every three months at least.’


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