Western Australian skippers are being urged to review their safety procedures and log on and off with Marine Rescue volunteers when they head out on the water this summer.
Managed by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES), Marine Rescue patrols 13,000km of WA coastline from Esperance to Kununurra.
Marine Rescue volunteers are regular first responders to emergencies at sea – particularly in regional areas – using their expertise and knowledge of local conditions to conduct life-saving operations.
Emergency Services Minister Stephen Dawson said volunteers were called out to more than 700 boating incidents across the State last summer, including 88 searches for missing persons.
Many of these incidents were the result of basic maintenance issues and could have been easily avoided.
Boaties are encouraged to check their vessels are shipshape to help keep volunteer resources available for emergency situations when lives are in danger.
Marine Rescue are called out to attend many breakdowns when the skipper has not logged on and off correctly.
Logging on and off with a local Marine Rescue group via radio at the start and end of a trip means volunteers will be ready to respond when a vessel doesn’t return on time, which can be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful search.
To provide volunteers with the latest search and rescue equipment, the State Government is continuing the rollout of new and upgraded Marine Rescue vessels across WA as part of a record $19.5 million investment.
Minister Dawson and Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm AFSM today handed Marine Rescue Cockburn back the keys to its rescue vessel Assure, following an upgrade worth about $300,000.
Marine Rescue groups are on the lookout for more volunteers, who don’t require previous boating experience and undergo DFES training to qualify as crew.
For more information visit dfes.vol.org.au or contact your local Marine Rescue group.
As stated by Emergency Services Minister Stephen Dawson:
“While the Western Australian summer is an exciting period for boating enthusiasts, the key to a successful voyage is preparation.
“Skippers need to be mindful of how their actions can have a flow-on effect to those responders who are on hand to answer their call for help.
“Marine Rescue volunteers sacrifice their spare time to keep boaties safe, so skippers should take all the necessary precautions and safety checks to reduce the chance of their vessel breaking down.
“We need our crews available to respond to life-threatening emergencies, instead of being tied up in a preventable incident.”
As stated by Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm AFSM:
“Safety out at sea is a shared responsibility, so I urge skippers to help out our volunteers by checking their boats for any potential faults if it has been a while between voyages.
“Please log on and off with Marine Rescue so they know where you are going and what time you expect to be back.
“If something does go wrong, they can raise the alarm and send assistance as soon as possible.”