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Busy May keeps Lake Mac marine rescue volunteers on their toes


It’s no surprise to anyone who lives in the region that Marine Rescue NSW Lake Macquarie was the most active unit in the state last month.

The organisation’s selfless volunteers were involved in 44 rescue missions in May, while neighbouring Port Stephens and Central Coast outfits recorded 15 and 10 respectively.

And, alarming figures continued throughout NSW, with 252 jobs returning 398 people safely to shore.

Radio operators managed 18,266 calls over the month, 10 of which were MAYDAYs where lives were in imminent danger.  

“We’ve been busy boys,” Marine Rescue NSW Lake Macquarie Unit Commander Jim Wright said.

“However, it’s probably on par with past years or maybe a bit higher than normal.

“One thing doesn’t change though… we’re constantly always the busiest unit in NSW.

“With all the visitors we get to the lake, and the amount of boats on the water, it’s not unusual [for us] to be on the go so much.

“There’s plenty of activity in a small area.”

Commander Wright admitted it was “the simple things” that demanded most of their time.

“Either the motor breaks down, the vessel runs out of fuel, the battery’s flat or there’s mechanical/maintenance issues that we have the greatest numbers of,” he told the Newcastle Weekly.

“In the lake, we’re also got the added issue of the channel that’s silted up.

“We offer a service to escort boats in and out of it safely.

“So, that’s another contributing factor.

“But, we’re here to make sure the boating community is safe.

“Sometimes, it’s a little bit disappointing when you find out people have left [home] without checking fuel or just some of the basics.

“That’s why we urge them to maintain their vessels and equipment, as well as take all the right precautions.”

Overall, in NSW, 57% of rescue missions in May were a result of mechanical issues, similar to what Commander Wright described.

However, 38% were emergency responses.

With the change in season, certain situations are life-threatening for boaters.

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

“With so many rescues in May, we’re encouraging people to make sure they check the conditions before they head out and that they check their boat,” a Marine Rescue NSW spokesperson said.

“The volunteer-based not-for-profit professional organisation is dedicated to keeping boaters out of harm’s way on the water and supporting local communities.”

Meanwhile, volunteers on board Lake Macquarie Three Zero and Newcastle Three Zero have been tasked to assist the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service whale disentanglement team following reports of an entangled mammal off Norah Head on Tuesday 6 June.

Both vessels are enroute.

Marine Rescue NSW Hunter/Central Coast zone duty operations manager Courtney Greenslade said the whale was reportedly entangled off Soldiers Beach.

“We’ve been requested by NPWS to provide on water support for the disentanglement team,” she stated.

“The Marine Rescue NSW vessels with play the role of mothership by carrying the NPWS crew and equipment.”


Hunter/Central Coast

  • Lake Macquarie 44
  • Port Stephens 15
  • Central Coast 10

Mid-North Coast

  • Coffs Harbour 8
  • Forster Tuncurry 6
  • Camden Haven 5

Northern Rivers

  • Ballina 11
  • Point Danger 10
  • Iluka Yamba 5

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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