One help call lodged to Marine Rescue each day this summer

BUSY: Port Stephens Marine Rescue unit has been busy this summer.

BUSY: Port Stephens Marine Rescue unit has been busy this summer.

PORT Stephens Marine Rescue has taken more than 3500 radio calls and had to assist a "surprising" number of vessels already this summer.

Tony O'Donnell, deputy commander of the Port Stephens unit of Marine Rescue NSW, said volunteers had, on average, assisted one boat each day during the holiday season.

"This holiday period has been very busy," Mr O'Donnell said.

"We have towed everything from little open runabouts to luxury cruisers and large off-shore sailing yachts.

"Boats requiring assistance ranged from 100 metres off d'Albora Marinas to 24 nautical miles east of the Bay."

The Port Stephens unit, which operates out of Nelson Head, near Little Beach, is assigned by Nelson Bay Water Police to help vessels in distress.

Port Stephens is also helped by the Lemon Tree Passage and Newcastle units of Marine Rescue NSW when needed.

All members are volunteers who take time out of their own holidays to help.

Mr O'Donnell said this summer a surprising number of boats had simply run out of fuel.

"Old or contaminated fuel also appears to be a problem," Mr O'Donnell said.

"Then there have been the usual engine breakdowns or battery failures.

"We have assisted one luxury boat which was taking on water and a number who had lost steering."

Mr O'Donnell said for anyone thinking of heading out on the water to ensure they had sufficient fuel to complete their journey with some reserve; have their battery checked; keep their engine serviced and know how to use the on-board radio.

He added that all skippers should log on with marine rescue before leaving the area.