Shoalhaven Marine Rescue - 2ST

Boat overturns at Crookhaven Heads


Two fishermen have had a lucky escape after their boat overturned in rough conditions.

The 26 foot shark cat, flipped around four this morning, while crossing the bar of the Shoalhaven River at Crookhaven Heads.

Marine Rescue Shoalhaven spotted the men clinging to the hull just after dawn this morning.

A privately owned light plane in the area also provided support

The two fishermen eventually swam 600 yards to safety.

The boat has been pushed into the entrance of the Crookhaven River where the crew of Shoalhaven 20 will try and salvage it.

Image: Marine Rescue NSW

Drifting boat a potential hazard


Boaters south of Jervis Bay are being warned to keep a lookout for a small orange boat adrift off the coastline.

A crew from Marine Rescue Jervis Bay located the upturned tender yesterday afternoon after a member of the public reported it off the old lighthouse near Cape St George.

Rescue vessel Jervis Bay 40 and the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopters and Toll Ambulance Rescue searched the area without locating any other boats or people in the water.

The crew of JB 40 could not attach a tow line to the boat, which is drifting and could possibly wash ashore in the Wreck Bay/Bendalong area.

The boat could pose a hazard over the busy Easter long weekend.

Marine Rescue Port Kembla Is brodcasting Securite messages to warn boaters in the area that the boat could pose a navigational hazard.

Eight in line for Rotary emergency service awards


The Shoalhaven has eight finalists in the NSW  Rotary Emergency Services Community Awards to be announced at the Mollymook Golf Club on Friday night.

Paid workers and volunteer finalists are Steven Angelo, Allan Brook, Danielle Carter and Alec Percival from Marine Rescue NSW, Matthew Potter NSW from Ambulance NSW, Anthony Bellette from Surf Life Saving NSW and Rural Fire Service members Wendy Roberts and Velma Walker.

Marine Rescue Commissioner Stacey Tannos and member for South Coast Shelley Hancock will present the awards at Mollymook to coincide with a live ceremony in Sydney that will be broadcast into the club via satellite.

Overall winners from the awards night will go on to represent NSW at the National Emergency Services Community
Awards to be held on Monday November 23 at Government House, Canberra with His Excellency, the Governor General, The Hon David Hurley AC DSC (Retd) and Her Excellency, Mrs Linda Hurley.

Shoalhaven awards chairperson Phil Presgrave said the awards recognise emergency service personnel, both paid and volunteers, who go above and beyond what is required in their roles, whether that be volunteering at their local footy club or helping out with a community event.

He said, a a result of the bush fires and covid, some amazing stories have come out of the Shoalhaven during 2020.


Illawarra Shoalhaven Marine Rescue Crew bring over 800 people back safely to shore


Despite the wettest start to a year on record, Marine Rescue NSW has had its second busiest 12 month period ever with 3,905 rescues safely delivering 8,599 to shore.

Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience and Minister for Flood Recovery Steph Cooke congratulated Marine Rescue NSW volunteers for their outstanding efforts.

“One third of the rescues conducted in the last financial year were for life-threatening emergencies, sometimes in the worst of weather and sea conditions and at the dead of night,” Ms Cooke said.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank our volunteers whose skill, bravery and dedication saves lives on the water and helps keep our State’s waterways safe.”


For the Illawarra Shoalhaven there were 404 rescues, 195 in potentially life-threatening circumstances bringing 802 people safely to shore.

  • Port Kembla                       107
  • Shellharbour                       27
  • Shoalhaven                        77
  • Sussex Inlet                        55
  • Jervis Bay                           96
  • Ulladulla                             30
  • Kioloa                                    3

Marine Rescue NSW Commissioner Stacey Tannos said that the number of rescues had come in slightly below the previous year, thanks to the poor weather over the popular summer boating period.


“Over the year our volunteers received an extraordinary 223,338 radio calls, nearly one every two minutes.

"These included 73 Mayday calls when lives were in imminent danger, and 47 Pan Pans, when boaters were in an urgent but not life-threatening situation, as well as 14 flare sightings,” Commissioner Tannos said.


“57 per cent of calls were for flat batteries, running out of fuel or engine problems, providing boaters with an important reminder to keep their vessel properly serviced and to always carry enough fuel for the journey. In total, 65,433 boaters Logged On to their local Marine Rescue base, helping to keep them, and their passengers, safer.”

Marine Rescue NSW volunteers also attended 247 groundings, 146 capsizes and 23 medical emergencies, with most rescues while boats were fishing (37 per cent), cruising (32 per cent) or sailing (eight per cent).

Weekends accounted for 50 per cent of all rescues, with Sundays the busiest day with 27 per cent of rescues, and Thursdays the quietest on the water. Boaters were most likely to be rescued between 12pm and 3pm, with 40 per cent of all rescues at this time as boaters begin to head home and strike mechanical issues or deteriorating weather conditions.


As the warmer months approach, Marine Rescue NSW is urging boaters to follow the safety advice and wear a lifejacket, check the weather conditions before heading out and to Log On with their local Marine Rescue base so they can be quickly located in an emergency.

images: NSW Marine Rescue  

Light shines on Crookhaven rescuers


Two Marine Rescue Shoalhaven volunteers, who responded rapidly to rescue a husband and wife that were suffering carbon monoxide poisoning on board their 28 foot cruiser on the Crookhaven River earlier this year, have been awarded MRNSW Commissioner's Citations.

Deputy Commissioner Alex Barrell presented Mike Boadle and Brian Earsman with their citations at an event held at the unit over the weekend.

Deputy Commissioner Barrell thanked the two volunteers for their commitment, skill and service in locating the grounded cruiser in the dark, providing essential first aid to the couple and transporting them to medical teams for transfer to hospital.

As the unit's rostered crew members on May 17, Mike and Brian quickly activated rescue vessel Shoalhaven 30 when tasked to locate a boat with two ill passengers somewhere on the river between Greenwell Point and Nowra.

A man had called police to report his wife was unconscious on the deck, but was unable to be more specific about their location.

Mike and Brian searched in the dark, locating the cruiser on rocks on near the Comerong Island ferry.

Mike boarded the boat to provide immediate first aid for the couple, who had suffered carbon monoxide poisoning.

The skipper, who was in shock, had also fallen on the engine and sustained serious burns to his left arm.

With Brian at the helm, SA 30 pulled the boat clear of the rocks and took it under tow back to Greenwell Point, where it was met by a NSW Ambulance.

The skipper was airlifted to a Sydney burns unit and his wife transferred to Shoalhaven Hospital.


New ORRCA first responders ready for action


Marine mammal rescue organisation, ORRCA, has welcomed a group of 20 new volunteers on the South Coast after a rescue training day was held at Batemans Bay.

After learning about how to rescue injured or stranded marine mammals, while keeping themselves and members of the community safe, the first responders are ready to dive into action, carrying rescue kits, wetsuits and buckets in the boots of their cars.

ORRCA spokesperson Jools Farrell says many people are passionate about saving our marine wildlife and the organisation always welcomes new members.

ORRCA is the only volunteer wildlife rehabilitation group in New South Wales licensed to be involved with marine mammal rescue, rehabilitation and release.

Members come from all walks of life, age groups and nationalities.  

ORRCA offers the community one of the most experienced and successful whale, dolphin, seal and dugong rescue teams in Australia

In NSW, it is a legal requirement that any person or group interacting, rescuing, rehabilitating or monitoring marine mammals must be licenced. 

ORRCA has an annual authority issued by the National Parkes and Wildlife Service of New South Wales to assist them with the rescue and rehabilitate marine mammals.

It is under this licence that its rescue members volunteer their time to help save the lives and manage situations along our coast lines.

Rescue Hotline is the first point of contact for training and rescues, be it a whale or seal emergency, a local incident, someone wanting information on the organisation or simply a member of the public asking a question.

For more information call the team on 02 9415 3333 or click on

Photo ORRCA.

Search challenges crews in South Coast rescue exercise


Marine Rescue specialists from the Illawarra and South Coast have taken to the water off Ulladulla during a major exercise.

The simuluated search for a missing vessel was the focus of a two-day regional Search and Rescue Exercise (SAREX) designed to test agencies’ marine search and rescue practices and coordination.


50 volunteers from nine Marine Rescue NSW units were among more than 120 specialists taking part in the first of a series of search and rescue exercises along the NSW coast this winter.

Marine Rescue NSW volunteers from the Port Kembla, Shellharbour, Shoalhaven, Jervis Bay, Sussex Inlet, Ulladulla, Kioloa, Batemans Bay and Tuross Moruya units took part.


The Marine Rescue NSW volunteers were joined by  NSW Police, including Incident and Emergency Command and Marine Area Command; the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, forty members of Surf Life Saving NSW, and the Regional Emergency Management Officer.


The exercises are staged along the coastline each year to hone marine rescue search and rescue skills and cooperation between agencies to ensure they operate seamlessly when a real emergency strikes.

Emergency services personnel are trained to the highest standards for their roles and the on-water experience they gain from these exercises helps keep them rescue-ready around the clock.


Marine Rescue NSW Deputy Commissioner Alex Barrell said that while the search exercise was based on a familiar scenario for emergency services personnel involving a search for a missing fishing boat, a few surprises thrown in tested the participant’s skills and their coordination with other agencies.


“In addition to the on-water component of the exercise, volunteers from all nine units undertook incident management exercises on shore to further test their skills and capability, as well as participating in presentations by participating agencies designed to enhance inter-agency understanding and cooperation," he said.


“Boaters on the South Coast and Illawarra can be confident that in an emergency, those coming to their aid are skilled and well-practiced professionals thanks to these exercises and rigorous on-going training,” Deputy Commissioner Barrell added.

Images: Marine Rescue NSW 

Shoalhaven rescue equipment stolen


Marine Rescue Shoalhaven has had its fuel trailer stolen.

Sometime between Tuesday and Thursday of this week the 18-thousand dollar trailer was taken from the Pilot House at Crookhaven Heads.

Described as a vital tool for volunteers saving lives on the water, it has the distinctive Marine Rescue  markings and anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000


Photos source: Marine Rescue

Sussex rescue vessel named in honour of John Nicholas


A new $343,000 rescue vehicle, the John Nicholas, was commissioned by NSW Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Marine Rescue NSW Commissioner Stacey Tannos, Deputy Commissioner Alex Barrell at Sussex Inlet yesterday.

Marine Rescue Sussex Inlet volunteers joined Dorothy Nicholas, the wife of founding member John, who lives in a nursing home, to officially commission the Sussex Inlet 20 to the MRNSW fleet.

Mrs Nicholas said as a life member of the organisation, her husband was extremely proud to have the vessel named after him.

Mr Elliott says the modern new vessel means the members of the Sussex Inlet unit are now better equipped than ever to respond to emergencies and save lives on the region’s busy waterways.

“The NSW Government is a proud supporter of Marine Rescue volunteers, which is why we have invested an additional $37.6 million to deliver 38 new rescue vessels, improve volunteer operating facilities and enhance the marine radio network.”

Member for South Coast Shelley Hancock says the 7.5 metre Ocean Cylinder vessel, fully-equipped with search and rescue, communications and navigation technology, was an investment in the safety of both the unit’s volunteers and the region’s large local and visiting boating community.

“The Government is committed to ensuring our volunteers have the safe, fit-for-purpose equipment they need for their life-saving work,” she said.

“This is a valuable rapid response resource that the unit can deploy to incidents on the Sussex Inlet, St Georges Basin and up to 15 nautical miles offshore.”

Marine Rescue NSW Commissioner Stacey Tannos said Sussex Inlet 20 was one of 103 vessels, worth more than $25 million, delivered under the organisation’s Fleet Modernisation Program.

Mr Tannos thanked the boating community for its ongoing support for Marine Rescue NSW and the State Government for its $37.6 million, four-year financial injection to fund upgraded volunteer resources and operational facilities.

“This support means we are able to ensure our volunteers have safe, modern and reliable rescue vessels like this one for their work to assist and protect NSW boaters,” he said.

Marine Rescue Sussex Inlet Unit Commander Karen Lowry said the vessel was launched in November last year, with the commissioning postponed due to covid-19, and had already been put to good use during the summer bushfires and floods.

She said the Sussex Inlet crew is prepared for a busy summer ahead.


“The boat is manoeuvrable and durable, which makes it a great resource for operations on the Inlet’s bar and the Basin, both of which can be hazardous for inexperienced boaters or when the wind blows up,” she said.

“As well as the suite of search and rescue technology our crews need, it also carries advanced first aid equipment, including a cardiac defibrillator and oxygen kit so we are ready to provide immediate assistance in a medical emergency.”

Sussex Inlet 20, powered by twin 250hp Suzuki outboards, was built by Yamba Welding & Engineering on the Northern Rivers.

Service medals were presented to volunteers Les Pataky and Aaron Hayward during the afternoon's celebrations.

Photos Katrina Condie

Three new SES vehicles were also presented in the Shoalhaven. Story HERE




The Shoalhaven Emergency Services Community awards 2021


The Shoalhaven Emergency Services Community awards for 2021 were announced overnight at the Dunn and Lewis Centre in Ulladulla.

Winners were NSW Ambulance officer Tara Picker, the Fire and Rescue NSW award winner was John Dun and the Rural Fire Fighter award was earned by Ronald (John) Ashton.

The State Emergency Service NSW award recipient was Allan Pheeney and William (Patch) Welch is the Marine Rescue NSW award winner.

The Shoalhaven Officer of the Year award was earned by Senior Constable Kyle Wilson from the NSW Police.

Image: Graham McGillivray