Marlin season sees surge in offshore rescues

February 23, 2024 5:34 am in by

Marine Rescue NSW units along the Batemans and Eden Coasts have completed a dozen rescue missions for boaters stranded offshore with mechanical issues since last Saturday (February 17).

Volunteers at Marine Rescue Bermagui were tasked for their fifth mission in four days on Tuesday (February 20) after a vessel with three fishermen on board suffered engine failure almost 15kms from Bermagui.

Marine Rescue NSW Inspector, Glenn Sullivan, said a volunteer crew was quickly assembled and Bermagui 30 was deployed to rescue the anglers.

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“The men on board the disabled vessel called radio operators at Marine Rescue Bermagui stating they were unable to start their engine approximately 6.8 nautical mile east of Three Brothers Rocks.

“The volunteer crew on board BG 30 reached them and commenced a tow back to Bermagui Harbour which took just over an hour.

“The three men were safely returned to shore,” he said.

Volunteer crews from the Bermagui unit have travelled a total of 106 nautical miles (196kms) in open waters since last Saturday, safely returning a total of 14 people to shore.

Inspector Sullivan said Marine Rescue volunteers at Batemans Bay, Narooma and Eden have also completed offshore rescues in recent days as anglers chase marlin along the coast.

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“In terms of rescues at the start of the marlin season, there’s been quite a considerable increase of those rescues.

“With the distances being so far offshore, rescues are taking up to nine or 10 hours when a vessel 39 miles offshore needs recovery,” he said.

Inspector Sullivan said boaters who become stranded offshore can quickly find themselves in a life-threatening situation because conditions can change dramatically at sea.

“The dangers that are associated with that (being stranded offshore) is that they’re a disabled vessel and at the whim of the elements.

“So when conditions change, the storms roll in and the wind picks up, that can actually produce seasickness and then turn into a medical emergency as well.

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“That’s why making the call (to Marine Rescue NSW) early and being able to get assistance as soon as possible is the best thing boaters can do,” he said.

Inspector Sullivan is asking all boaters heading offshore to ensure they have the correct working safety equipment including lifejackets, flares and an EPIRB.

“It is also vitally important that boaters make sure their vessel is maintained, their marine radio is working, they have enough fuel for their journey with some in reserve and that they Log On with Marine Rescue NSW either via the free Marine Rescue app or VHF channel 16,” he said.

Images: Marine Rescue NSW