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Byron Shire
September 21, 2023

Marine Rescue NSW units have busy finish to Autumn

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Marine Rescue NSW volunteers were involved in 252 rescue missions in May, returning 398 people safely to shore.

Marine Rescue NSW Commissioner Alex Barrell said volunteers were kept busy assisting boaters on the state’s waterways.

‘Despite heading into the cooler months our units right across the state have seen a large number of rescues, over 250 in May alone.

‘It is a reminder for boaters how important it is that they check their equipment before they get out on the water and that they take all the right safety precautions,’ he said.

Commissioner Barrell said 57% of rescue missions in May were a result of mechanical issues.

‘Disappointingly many of the incidents were avoidable like running out of fuel, flat batteries and mechanical/engine issues,’ he said.

38% of the rescue missions were emergency responses and Commissioner Barrell said with the change in season certain situations could become life-threatening for boaters.

‘When boaters breakdown and become disabled in the colder water, it does increase the risk of an incident becoming more serious.

‘With so many rescues seen through May were are urging boaters to make sure that they do check the conditions before they head out and that they check their vessel,’ he said.

The Lake Macquarie Unit on the Hunter/Central Coast was the busiest in May with 44 rescues while volunteers at Botany Port Hacking completed 19.

Marine Rescue NSW radio operators managed 18,266 radio calls over the month with a large portion answered by the Marine Rescue Sydney State Communications Centre.

10 of those calls were MAYDAYs where lives were in imminent danger.

Commissioner Barrell praised the 5,497 boaters who Logged On and Logged Off with Marine Rescue NSW.

‘Through May we saw just under five-and-a-half thousand Log Ons and Log Offs over our free Marine Rescue app or over the VHF marine radio.

‘It is so important that boaters take the opportunity and take advantage of our service to Log On because we know it saves lives and if you do breakdown and don’t return as planned rescue crews will start looking for you,’ Commissioner Barrell said.

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


Northern Rivers

Ballina 11

Point Danger 10

Iluka Yamba 5

Mid North Coast

Coffs Harbour 8

Forster Tuncurry 6

Camden Haven 5

Hunter/Central Coast

Lake Macquarie 44

Port Stephens 15

Central Coast 10

Greater Sydney

Botany Port Hacking 19

Port Jackson 8

Broken Bay 7


Port Kembla 9

Jervis Bay 6

Shellharbour 5

Shoalhaven 4


Batemans Bay 9

Eden 1

Narooma 1


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  1. They also had ‘a busy finish to Summer’. I’m sure they will have ‘a busy finish to Winter’. We get it, they are busy. If you want people to be more careful, let some drown, and publicise it. Get a reputation going that makes people fear getting into trouble in NSW because local Marine Rescue may just not be arsed that day to break up their poker game.


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