Sea rescue not salvage operators

Public relations officer Graham Colledge said there had been multiple occasions recently when the volunteer organisation had been criticised for not helping to pull vessels off local beaches.

‘All our rescue jobs are allocated by the controller at the WA Water Police operations centre in Fremantle,’ he said.

‘The system is as follows ” if we get a distress call from a member of the public regarding a vessel in trouble, or a vessel with a seriously ill person on board, we advise the Water Police. They assess the situation and give our crews the authority to carry out the mission and allocate a number for the task to be carried out.

‘If the Water Police think that the deployment of our boat is not warranted in the case of an unmanned sunken or beached vessel (which are deemed to be salvage situations where no lives are at risk), we will not send crews to the location.’

Volunteers will only attend the scene in this scenario so they can alert the Water Police to the vessel location in case a shipping hazard warning and a marker needs to be placed in the area.

‘We only act under instructions from the Water Police, and any concerns should be raised with that authority,’ he said.

‘Remember to check your moorings and mooring lines and if your boat hasn’t been used for a while, discard your old fuel, give it a run and check your batteries.’