Sea Rescue quieter than the wind

By Isabel Vieira | posted on January 7, 2021

IN A surprising but welcome start to the summer, zero calls have been made to the Albany Sea Rescue Squad.

Due to unfavourable weather conditions, fewer visitors and locals are taking their boats out on the water.

Albany Sea Rescue Squad Commander Derek Ryal said despite the number of tourists in town, it had so far been one of the quietest seasons for their volunteers.

“So far because of the strong easterly wind we’ve been having, there’s very few boats getting out,” he said.

“We haven’t had any tow jobs or anyone getting into trouble for several weeks now.

“It’s probably the quietest Christmas and New Year period that I’ve seen in the past 10 years.”

Mr Ryal said over the Christmas to mid-January period, they usually receive two to three calls per week, but they haven’t received any in this period.

“If you go around the caravan parks, there’s boats sitting everywhere but the weather conditions just aren’t right,” he said.

“It’s good for volunteers but its seemingly frustrating for people who want to get out.

“It’s probably not so good for Albany’s reputation as such.”

Since WA’s intrastate boarder re-opened in June, Marine Rescue Volunteers have experienced a 45 per cent increase in calls for help.

Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm AFSM said running out of fuel, mechanical and battery failures and a general lack of maintenance are the main reasons volunteers were being called out to assist.

“If you’re planning to enjoy WA’s coastline this holiday period, it’s imperative that you undertake the proper checks on your vessel and have the right equipment on board before making the trip to the boat ramp,” he said.

“All marine rescue personnel are volunteers and sacrifice their own time to respond to calls for help, so by taking the time to properly maintain your vessel you’re giving those personnel the best chance to enjoy the summer too.”

Mr Ryal said the waters around Albany are far more dangerous than those up around the west coast.

“My message for people is to carry 50 per cent more fuel than you think you would need, carry life jackets for everybody on board, carry a spare battery and call sea rescue when you’re going out,” he said.