Search and Rescue
On Jul 10, 2024

Marine Rescue Port Stephens crew saves fishermen stranded 65 kilometres offshore

Two fisherman, stranded on the eastern side of the Continental shelf have been returned safely to shore by volunteers from Marine Rescue Port Stephens following a marathon 9 hour and 20 minute rescue mission last night.

Marine Rescue Port Stephens Unit Commander and Watch Officer Ben Van Der Wijngaart received a call from the fishermen at 3pm yesterday (9 July) that their Logged On 7.9 metre cabin cruiser had suffered engine failure more than 30 nautical miles off Port Stephens Heads.

“At this distance communications are challenged but we managed to narrow the location of the disabled vessel,” Unit Commander Van Der Wijngaart said.

Marine Rescue NSW Inspector Steve Raymond said a volunteer crew was assembled at the request of Marine Area Command and rescue vessel Port Stephens 31 deployed.

“Our crew reached the stranded fishermen in just under one and a half hours.

“The disabled vessel had been drifting south, southeast putting them 35 nautical miles off Port Stephens Heads.

“Visibility was hampered because of sea spray.

“The PS 31 crew checked the welfare of the two men on board the disabled vessel before taking their boat under tow for the journey back to Port Stephens which took almost eight hours.

“The rescue vessel travelled back at under six knots because of sea conditions and occasional larger swell sets.

“It was a long, slow and uncomfortable haul back,” Inspector Raymond said.

The two fisherman and their disabled vessel were returned to Port Stephens at 2am this morning (10 July).

The Marine Rescue Port Stephens Unit Commander said the rescue mission was complicated by the distance and intermittent contact with the disabled vessel.

“The crew did an incredible job with the communications limitations we experienced.

“Locating the disabled vessel as quickly as they did was outstanding.

“Our crew and radio operators have enjoyed a well-earned sleep in today after a tiring rescue mission,” Unit Commander Van Der Wijngaart said.

Inspector Raymond said the skipper of the disabled vessel had Logged On with Marine Rescue NSW, ensuring the service’s radio operators kept watch over their journey.

“It is important that all boaters Log On with Marine Rescue NSW either by the free Marine Rescue app or VHF Channel 16.

“Logging On saves vital time in the event of an emergency,” Inspector Raymond said.

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