30 May 2024

It's a sign - Port Kembla Marine Rescue wants you to take care on the water

| Zoe Cartwright
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Marine Rescue NSW has installed a $22,000 sign at Port Kembla

Marine Rescue NSW has installed a $22,000 sign at Port Kembla in the hope it will help improve boater safety. Photo: Marine Rescue NSW.

Marine Rescue Port Kembla is illuminating the public on boating safety with the installation of a new electronic sign in front of the unit’s vessel base on Foreshore Road.

Marine Rescue Port Kembla Unit Commander Kevin Bradley said the $22,000 sign was funded through the NSW Ports 2023 Community Grants Program.

“We owe a lot to NSW Ports for making these grants available for volunteer associations and not-for-profit organisations to give benefit to local communities and for us, the boating community,” he said.

Unit Commander Bradley said the sign had an important role to play in reinforcing Marine Rescue NSW’s boating safety messages to boaters preparing to depart from the Port Kembla Outer Harbour boat ramp.

“The purpose of the sign is to portray and deliver safety messages to the general boating public for logging on and logging off with Marine Rescue NSW, providing weather reports, lifejacket reminders and making sure that people are aware of the circumstances they are dealing with,” he said.

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Marine Rescue NSW Illawarra Inspector Stuart Massey said the Port Kembla unit had kept watch for the safe return of thousands of boaters already this year.

“Since January first, volunteers at Marine Rescue Port Kembla have kept watch over more than 2000 vessels whose skippers logged on with the service either via the free Marine Rescue app or by marine radio on VHF channel 16.

“Logging on provides us with key details about your trip, including where you are heading and when you’re due back, saving precious time in an emergency.

“If a boater doesn’t return from their voyage as planned we will initiate a search,” Inspector Massey said.

Unit Commander Bradley said hundreds of local boaters had made logging on part of their routine before heading out on the water but more could make it a habit, as could visitors to the area.

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“During the peak boating season and on weekends when we have a lot of people from inland locations that are not necessarily familiar with the process of logging on and logging off or making people aware of where they are going, hopefully this sign will aid to get that message through,” he said.

Inspector Massey said the NSW Ports funded sign was in the ideal location to get the attention of boaters before they put their vessel in the water.

“The sign is easy to see on the entry to the boat ramp parking area and we hope it encourages all boaters to log on with Marine Rescue NSW.

“It only takes a minute to log on and protect a life,” he said.

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