20 February 2024

Narooma Bar proves challenging for Sunday night marine rescue

| Katrina Condie
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rescue boat

The Narooma Marine Rescue crew was called on to help a disabled boat in difficult conditions on the weekend. Photo: MRNSW.

Challenging conditions on the Narooma Bar hampered ocean rescue efforts over the weekend.

Radio operators at Marine Rescue Narooma took a call for assistance just after 5 pm on Sunday (18 February) from a skipper whose seven-metre fiberglass vessel lost engine power and steerage 22 nautical miles (40 km) offshore.

Marine Rescue NSW Inspector Glenn Sullivan said the two fishers on board were chasing marlin off Tuross Canyons when their vessel became disabled.

“A volunteer crew was assembled and deployed on rescue vessel Narooma 30,” Inspector Sullivan said.

“Thankfully, a nearby private vessel provided initial assistance to the stranded anglers and commenced a tow.

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“Narooma 30 arrived on scene, took over the tow and planned to return the anglers and their disabled vessel to Narooma but conditions deteriorated during the rescue mission.

“Conditions were fair when the mission commenced, but the seas became choppy because of increasing winds and a storm also affected visibility, meaning crossing Narooma Bar would be dangerous with a vessel in tow.”

Inspector Sullivan said it was decided a bar crossing would not be safe and a Marine Rescue vessel from Bermagui was tasked to complete the rescue mission.

“The disabled vessel was quite heavy and with it having no steerage, it was not safe for Narooma 30 to cross the bar with a boat in tow,” he said.

He said the Narooma Bar was the most dangerous and challenging in NSW.

rescue boat

The Bermagui Marine Rescue crew was called to assist. Photo: MRNSW.

Bermagui 30 was deployed and met the Narooma rescue vessel and the disabled boat off the coast.

“The tow was transferred to BG 30, with the crew tasked to return the disabled vessel to Bermagui Harbour,” Inspector Sullivan said.

“Considering the conditions, Bermagui Harbour was a safer harbour entrance and the disabled vessel and its crew were returned to harbour at 10:45 pm.

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“We took the safest option and everyone involved was able to return home safely, which is the most important thing. Safety is paramount for our volunteers and those we assist.”

Inspector Sullivan said both crews performed extremely well in challenging conditions and radio operators provided exceptional communications for the rescue mission.

He said boaters looking to cross Narooma Bar should always stand off, check the conditions, seek advice from Marine Rescue NSW and then decide whether it is safe to proceed.

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