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

  • Enjoy the holidays - and stay safe in 2016
  • January 05, 2016

Rescue volunteers ready themselves for the busiest boating holiday of the year.

As boaters count down the days to the holiday break and the opportunity to get out on the water, marine authorities are once again urging the public to follow some simple safety precautions.

In NSW, Marine Rescue volunteers are readying themselves for the busiest time of the year for recreational boating.

According to Marine Rescue NSW commissioner, Stacey Tannos, the 2015-16 boating season has already seen a hazardous start with volunteers along the NSW coastline responding to 341 calls for assistance in October alone.

Of these, 65 were life-threatening emergencies that could have had serious outcomes without the intervention of Marine Rescue.

“The great majority of all incidents are caused by mechanical or electrical failure,” said Tannos. “This means that most of these are avoidable by ensuring proper maintenance before taking the boat out for an anticipated great day on the water – especially if the boat hasn’t been used since last season.”

One typical – and easily rectifiable problem – said Tannos is dirty fuel in outboard tanks.

“Not everyone realises that outboard fuel 'goes off' after a relatively short time in the tank. This is a problem ready to happen. Fuel components separate and the fuel loses its ability to combust.”

While an outboard may start when the boat is launched initially, problems can occur when the time comes to return home.

“In fine weather with calm seas, the worst result of the breakdown can be simply an interrupted day. In poor conditions, a breakdown can be life-threatening,” said Tannos.

“A rigorous boating safety check before launching after a long lay-off can be some of the best insurance a skipper can take for trouble-free boating.”

Boatsafe targets lifejackets

Meanwhile NSW Roads and Maritime Services are reminding boaters of the importance – and in some cases legal requirement – to wear lifejackets.

RMS Maritime director, Angus Mitchell, said the recent Operation Boatsafe: Wear a Lifejacket operation in NSW had revealed that almost 90% of boaters were using lifejackets as required.

“Last year there were 282 reported boating incidents and statistics show 9 out of 10 people who drown when boating are not wearing a lifejacket so complacency simply isn’t an option.

“The nine day boating safety operation started with Boating Education Officers visiting key waterside locations around the state to provide important safety information before the enforcement action started.

“Officers targeted vessels at random checking compliance with safety requirements. More than 1,400 safety checks were completed with 68 penalty notices and 93 formal warnings issued.

“With almost 90% of boaters safely wearing a lifejacket, 10% of boaters still need to improve for us to continue our long term goal of reducing fatal boating incidents.”

According to Mitchell, operations such as Operation Boatsafe working in tandem with a broader education campaign have seen lifejacket wear rates increase by 300% since 2007.

“All boat operators and skippers are responsible for the safe operation of their vessels and everyone on board. This includes following the maritime regulations of wearing a lifejacket and all other safety requirements,” he commented.

“Before boating, skippers must ensure it is safe to go out and the vessel has all the required safety equipment on board, including the appropriate navigational lights at night.

“Children under 12 years of age must wear a lifejacket at all times in vessels under 4.8 metres, or when in the open part of vessels up to eight metres.

“Wear a lifejacket. If you’re using an inflatable type, make sure it has been serviced as required by the manufacturer and the gas bottle is fitted correctly,” Mitchell concluded.


Read more at Marine Business

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