Rockingham sea rescue urge caution
Taking precautions to ensure safety out on the water and return home safely over coming months has been stressed by the Rockingham Volunteer Sea Rescue Group.
Over the past three years, the group has averaged 207 rescues each year, or more than 500 people who required assistance out on the water.
Rockingham Volunteer Sea Rescue Group Commander Graham Martin said the warmer weather had already seen boaters take to the water in large numbers, but stressed the importance of taking a range of safety measures.
“Boating is a fantastic pastime, and what we want is for people to go out and have a good time and come home safe; that is the priority,” he said.
“The first thing we are really trying to remind people is to always wear a lifejacket.
“It’s just like driving a car, where you use a seatbelt in case something happens. If you get into trouble out on the water, you can’t just get out and walk away for help.”
Cdr Martin urged boaters to look into the Old4New lifejacket exchange program, which allowed old lifejackets to be exchanged for a new one at a reduced price.
“Wearing a lifejacket isn’t an inconvenience and wearing one never ruined a good day’s fishing,” he said.
Logging on and off with radio operators before heading out, as well as when returning to shore, was a practice Cdr Martin said was essential, but that very few people actually did it.
“We implore people to log on and log off, we have operators out from 6am-6pm ready to help,” he said.
Rather than rely on telling a family member an anticipated arrival time home, Cdr Martin said officially logging in with marine rescue groups ensured a quick response in the case of potential incidents.
“If you don’t come back at the time you said, after 30 minutes we will contact Water Police, who will check whether you’ve made it home safely and just forgotten to log off. If you haven’t, that’s when we will send out a search party,” he said.
“Logging on and off is the most important thing people can do but only about 10 per cent of people actually do.
“It’s a real shame more people don’t do it because it is free and is a real safety net for people out on the water,” he said.
As an added incentive to take these safety measures, Rockingham Volunteer Sea Rescue Group is running a completion until the end of January, with more than $2000 of prizes on offer for those who log on and off.
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