In a boating emergency

Radio for help on

Channel 16 on VHF 
(distress and calling channel)

Channel 88 (27.880 MHz) 
on a 27 MHz radio

Call MRNSW on

9450 2468

Or call

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News & Media

  • Marine Rescue Newcastle back on air in new location
  • November 30, 2015

Photo: The storm damage at MR Newcastle base on Shepherds Hill

Marine Rescue Newcastle is back on the airwaves, seven months after the April East Coast Low storms smashed its Shepherds Hill base, leaving the unit homeless.

Marine Rescue NSW Commissioner Stacey Tannos said after an extensive search for new premises and work to connect new communications links, the unit had resumed its marine radio monitoring operations at 6am today.

“This is great news, both for our volunteers and the Newcastle boating community,” he said.

Commissioner Tannos said the April storm had ripped a large area of roofing off the unit’s heritage-listed base at Shepherds Hill, which led to serious internal water damage and the destruction of unit equipment, records and fittings.

“The Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group has generously provided the unit with facilities at its Kooragang Island site for the next year. On behalf of the unit’s 60 volunteers, I want to thank the NCIG for its extremely welcome support,” he said.

Newcastle Unit Commander Ron Calman said the volunteers were grateful for the assistance of the NCIG and pleased to be able to again provide a vital safety net for their local boating community.

“The loss of our base was a terrible blow for our members. We all volunteer our time to help our community and it’s been hard to keep up morale when we couldn’t do that because we didn’t even have anywhere we could operate,” he said.

New computer-based marine radio communication equipment has been installed at the Kooragang Island facility and a remote link established from the still-functional radio mast at Shepherds Hill to enable the unit to resume its radio operations, monitoring VHF and 27MHz.

Commissioner Tannos thanked nearby Marine Rescue Lake Macquarie and Port Stephens for providing extended marine radio coverage while the Newcastle unit searched for a new home.

“This has added significantly to the workload of these units and is not a sustainable long-term solution.

“While the Kooragang Island move has enabled the unit to get back on its feet, the ultimate solution is for the Newcastle unit to move back to Shepherds Hill, which provides its radio operators with an ideal line-of-sight view over Newcastle Harbour and the open coastline,” he said.

“Disappointingly, Newcastle City Council has, to date, not been willing to guarantee our return to Shepherds Hill.  We again call on Council to support this essential emergency service for its local community and assist the unit to return to its Shepherd Hill base, either by repairing the existing building, or providing a new facility for the unit’s services.”


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