Fremantle Volunteer Sea Rescue

The Latest News from Fremantle Sea Rescue

Fremantle Sea Rescue

April 9th, 2016

One of Australia’s busiest marine rescue groups.

In 2015 we responded to 712 calls for assistance.

We are a registered charity of volunteers which is proud to be part of DFES – the network of Western Australia Fire and Emergency Services.

Our Promise

We operate 24 hours a day every day of the year and will attend to any boater or water-user in distress who needs assistance.


Continuing Cantonment Hill’s Legacy

June 5th, 2015

Ricoh Company Ltd.


Fremantle Sea Rescue is pleased to announce the successful acquisition of the lease for the Cantonment Hill Signal Station.  This site will be utlised as our new radio tower and operational base for the next 10 years or more.  After almost a 2 year process, the news was received at the Fremantle City Council meeting on Wednesday 27th May 2015.  Many councillors present were in full support of the proposal put forward and there was much agreement that the site was ideally suited for the Fremantle Sea Rescue.

The current Fremantle Sea Rescue radio tower that is in operation, based in Fremantle’s Fishing Boat Harbour, was built for the 1987 america’s cup defence.  It then had to be retrofitted to fulfill its present capabilities as the Fremantle Sea Rescue Radio tower.  The tower structure has reached the end of its design life, suffering from structural fatigue and a leaking roof.  Ongoing distortion of radio signals is often an issue due to local interference, and with inadequate toilet facilities, the site has long since been outgrown by the group.


The area around Cantonment Hill in which the newly acquired signal station sits on has long been known as a site of cultural and historical significance.  The site is included on the State Register for Heritage Places, as well as being a place of Aboriginal significance, the hill being named Dwerda Weeardinup or the place of the dingo spirit [1].  It was also known for being an important site in the early history of Fremantle; in 1833 it was identified as the place to defend the new settlement due to excellent views of the harbour and ocean, the Swan River, and Fremantle.

The signal station that now sits at the highest point of the hill was constructed in 1956 replacing the brick and timber look outs that preceded it.  Designed by Hobbs Winning and Leighton, it was only operational for 8 years due to grain silos being built on the North Heads obstructing the view out over the ocean.


As the Cantonment Hill tower was constructed for the purpose of sea-based signalling and communication for the Fremantle Port Authority, the site is ideally situated for the requirements of Fremantle Sea Rescue. The station’s mast is around three times higher than Fremantle’s current radio tower, this will provide a much needed improvement to radio coverage and quality both out to sea and up river. This extra height will also provide radio operators critical oversight of the ocean to Rottnest and the busy waterways of Fremantle  Harbour and lower reaches of the Swan River.


The new facility will not only dramatically improve the working conditions for our volunteers, but also enable us to deliver a safer, more robust and efficient service to the community.  Annually our volunteers spend over 17,000 hours maintaining an uninterrupted radio watch, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, on 10 different marine radio frequencies. The new development of the signal tower will hopefully  rejuvenate the hillside for the general public and Fremantle community.  We hope that our presence in the tower will both uphold the intended purpose and heritage of the site, as well as keep Fremantle Sea Rescue at the heart of Fremantle life and part of the unmistakable ‘Fremantle Brand’.


Summer Flashback: Rottnest Swim – a challenging success!

May 13th, 2015

Regarded as Western Australia’s most gruelling ocean swim, the Rottnest Channel Swim 2015 took place this year on Saturday 21st February.  Navigating choppy seas, scorching sun and an early start, rescuers and participants alike took to the challenge head on.  With just under 20km of ocean between Cottesloe Beach and Thomson Bay on Rottnest Island, Fremantle Sea Rescue volunteers were happy to be on hand to help.

Our volunteers worked as support radio operators at Channel Swim Base, as crew on rescue boats and jet skis, as well as aiding with compliance for the competition. With nearly 2400 swimmers making it to the finish line this year, it was a successful, but tumultuous event.

Jet skis at the Rottnest Swim

Jet skis at the Rottnest Swim

The day started very early with most support and rescue boats underway by 4.30am. Fremantle Sea Rescue crewed 15 boats in total – including five jet skis, as well as two boats on loan from some very generous members. As the sun rose over Fremantle harbour and beyond to Cottesloe beach, hundreds of solo swimmers, as well as many teams, congregated in preparation for their mammoth journey.  Their day was planned out for them, but the volunteers were prepared to expect the unexpected.

Unfortunately for all involved,the day of the event brought choppy seas, which led to quite a few seasick swimmers, paddlers and support crew. Loan vessel Aqua-pro was on hand to collect seasick participants and take them back to shore.

The most dramatic rescue occurred quite early on in the day when a Mayday call was received from near the 3 kilometre marker. The team, who happened to be raising money for Crusade for Cancer, were in trouble; their support boat was taking on water during a swimmer transition and was sinking fast. Luckily, many rescue boats were in the vicinity and at least three rescue vessels, as well as the five jet skis, were on hand with a fast response. The boat was so quick to sink that within a minute only the stern was visible. The jet skis had to race to pluck the souls out of the water.  The team were soon on-board a waiting rescue vessel and taken back to Fremantle with nothing apart from speedos and one mobile phone.  The team successfully completed the swim after a second attempt this month, with the support of Rescue Vessel Gemini I and the rest of the Community TAB team at their side.

Capsized vessel

Capsized vessel

The day did not end there for our volunteers, who were required to attend to a large range of mechanical and medical situations.  The long list of call outs included boats with seized engines and flat batteries, through to someone who suffered from chemical burns.  All in all, the Rottnest Channel Swim 2015 was an eventful, but largely successful event for all involved.


New Year brings new technology: WAVE has arrived!

February 15th, 2015

WAVE has arrived!

Have you ever wondered how our sea rescue volunteers patrol the radio waves 24 hours a day, 7 days a week?  2015 marks a year of innovation for Fremantle Sea Rescue that will make this feat easier to accomplish. Not only will it allow us to do our job to an even higher standard, it will increase our capabilities in assisting many seafarers over the coming year and beyond.

The new radio system WAVE is here; successfully installed and operational since the end of last year, already WAVE is making a difference in the proficient running of Fremantle Sea Rescue. With testing and fine tuning having taken place over the busy Christmas and New Year period, we are now even more confident in its capabilities.

So what is WAVE and how is it going to assist us and you? It is a valuable tool in the organisation’s uninterrupted surveillance of monitored VHF, HF and 27 mhz radio channels.  Previously, in order for monitoring to occur throughout the night when volunteers were out of the radio tower on ‘home base’, a system of hardware consoles were needed to be setup al at home and attached to a computer. Despite this system operating through the internet, only a small number of volunteers could utilise this system after hours.  When on duty, the volunteer would be required to stay beside the connected computer and console, making after-hours duty a restricting task. This is where WAVE becomes a rescuer’s hero.

The technology is software-based, rather than hardware-based, and therefore can run on almost any desktop PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone over a fixed or mobile internet connection. Users can listen to all our monitored channels at once, as well as being able to verbally respond in real time to calls via their chosen device.  This means we have the capability to monitor our radios anytime, from any device, anywhere in the world.

Additionally, WAVE records all radio traffic on each individual channel monitored and will keep these recordings indefinitely. This means that radio traffic can be accessed at a later time, which will help greatly in ensuring the accuracy of response to calls for assistance, as well as in record keeping and administration tasks. We have peace of mind in knowing our WAVE system is professionally supported around the clock. If a failure arises, we have access to technical and diagnostic support that can remotely rectify the problem in a short space of time.

Although we will only be using WAVE initially to monitor radio channels after hours, we are confident in this technology being utilised in other ways in the future.  The WAVE system means flexibility and ease of access to our monitored radio channels, along with the peace of mind of secure and protected access.

We are proud to say that we are the first non-military organisation to install and use this system in Western Australia. However, we are not alone in using WAVE.  With over 100 installations of this system in Australia alone, many belonging to the armed forces including the SAS, it is already widely used nationally. Overseas, WAVE is used by organisations such as British Airways and even the CIA.   This is the first in a wave of new technology for 2015 – We hope to bring you updates on further technological advances in the near future.


Sea Rescue launches new Community Services Unit with assistance from Community TAB

December 11th, 2014

On Saturday 6th December, Fremantle Sea Rescue launched the new Community Services Unit aided by the sponsorship received from Community TAB in conjunction with Channel Seven Perth and The West Australian.

TAB 1 and TAB 2

TAB 1 and TAB 2

A substantial crowd congregated at Challenger Harbour to mark the occasion and to watch a rescue drill, demonstrating the versatility and agility of the jet skis alongside the rescue vessel in support.

Two fully equipped jet skis with safety gear and crew uniforms have been provided as part of the sponsorship package, as well as the rebranding and refurbishment of the existing rescue vessel Gemini 1 in the new Community TAB colours of orange and purple. This vessel, along with the two jet skis, will be able to support community events throughout the summer, on the river as well as in the ocean.

Rescue drill

Rescue drill

Phil Martin, Fremantle Sea Rescue’s president described the benefits of using these strategic vessels in a recent interview with Channel Seven Perth; “If you have a pack of swimmers you can get amongst them safely with the jet skis. We can then get them out of the water much faster. We can get them first aid treatment on the rescue boat much faster”.

Gemini 1 - relaunched

Gemini 1 – relaunched

The Community Services Unit has already been involved in the paddleboard competition, and is set to be a valuable addition to the annual Rottnest Channel Swim taking place in February. Jeff Ovens, from Community TAB, further explained how this unit would be indispensable in swimming events; “Boats haven’t been able to get close to swimmers, close to kayaks and paddle boarders and with the jet skis they can get very close in a very safe environment”. Fremantle Sea Rescue is looking forward to being further equipped to assist the community of Fremantle and Perth in an even wider range of pursuits this summer.


Two rescue jet-skis to join the fleet

September 2nd, 2014

This summer Fremantle Sea Rescue will be launching two rescue-modified jet-skis to assist with shallow and swift water rescue, as well as supporting many community and sporting events throughout the season.

Our crews are frequently called to assist vessels that are in difficulty in extremely shallow waters or on top of reef at Rottnest Island. Having an very shallow draft, jet-skis are able to get into places that traditional rescue vessels cannot reach, either to transfer in medical supplies or to help recover stranded boaters.

Sponsor a lifeguard skipper

Sponsor a lifeguard skipper

The skis will also contribute to a vital search role on  the Swan River and Rottnest Island to help us search for missing swimmers, paddlers and kite-surfers. With no propellor to cause potential injury, skis are uniquely placed to recover people who are submerged in the water.

As well the search and rescue role we are pleased that these craft will now be able to support many more of the community sports events on the Swan River and at Rottnest Island.  Each year we are asked to assist with up to 40 sports events and hope that these skis will help maintain the viability of these community events well into the future.

The jet-ski skippers will be drawn from our ranks of Senior Crew and Rescue Skippers, meaning that a minimum of one year of vessel rescue experience in local waters is required. In addition the ski skippers will have completed the following training:

If you or your business would like to support this community initiative there are a number of ways you can help. Please visit our Sponsor a Lifeguard Skipper page for more details, or email if you would like to consider becoming a principal sponsor.

Jet Ski at Rottnest Swim

Jet Ski at Rottnest Swim


Important Change to Log-On Procedure

March 28th, 2014

Fremantle Sea Rescue members logging on with their FG number will now also be asked for their vessel’s registration number.

In an effort to increase safety, Fremantle Sea Rescue’s management committee have recently decided to collect registration numbers for ALL log-ons, even if the caller has given an FG number. This move is in reaction to a significant number of discrepancies observed recently whilst investigating overdue vessels. These discrepancies can happen for a number of reasons including vessels being sold with membership stickers still on the dash, records that have not been updated or details were mis-spoken or mis-heard due to poor radio conditions or like sounding letters.

We would like to remind all members that your FG number belongs to YOU, not your boat. Whilst we also keep information about your boat, your FG number stays with you even if you sell your vessel and buy a new one. This system enables you to have multiple vessels all under the one membership and FG number. We ask all members to follow these simple steps to help us keep track of you on the water.

Meanwhile Fremantle Sea Rescue is investing in new technologies that will greatly enhance our efficiency and accuracy to help keep you safer. In the coming months we will be launching our new website which will eventually enable members to access and edit all of their details directly online, even including the ability to upload a picture of your boat. Later in the year we are also planning to implement new electronic radio log keeping system that will help us keep track of the tens of thousands of radio calls we receive each year and will also link with our new member database and incident management system. Finally before next summer we also intend to implement a brand new Radio over IP system that will revolutionise the way we maintain radio communications after hours and also centrally record all calls around the clock for later reference.

For any queries regarding your membership, please contact us.

Always refer to your membership sticker to avoid mixups

Always refer to your membership sticker to avoid mixups


Another Successful Rottnest Channel Swim

March 28th, 2014

After months of hard work in preparation, we are very pleased to say that the 2014 Rottnest Channel Swim went off without a hitch.

Each year Fremantle Sea Rescue manages the on water safety and event compliance, as well as running Channel Swim Base in Fremantle and Channel Swim Mobile at Cottesloe Beach.

This year saw Femantle Sea Rescue’s biggest response to date, with all 4 rescue vessels, 4 borrowed private vessels and two rescue waverunner PWCs from Margaret River & Augusta Sea Rescue groups involved. The increased level of support craft was in response to, yet again the biggest swim fleet on record with a staggering 2,400 swimmers.

Rott Swim1

one of two rescue waverunners in the safety fleet

Our 3 dedicated medical vessels, manned by Royal Flying Doctor personnel, were on scene to a number of medical incidents within a matter of minutes. In all, 3 hypothermia victims were evacuated to Fremantle to awaiting ambulances with many other less urgent medicals receiving treatment on scene before making their own way home.

Favourable conditions not only resulted in far less sea-sickness incidents than normal but also made it a very fast crossing for the swimmers. Only one swimmer, a solo, didn’t make the 18km cut-off in time and had to retire which was a heartbreaking job for our compliance team after watching his hard fought battle. Despite the favourable conditions however, a prevailing northern current reared its head again, causing considerable congestion on the northern buoys which kept our compliance vessels busy in the later stages of the race.

On behalf of Fremantle Sea Rescue, we would like to congratulate all of the competitors and support craft. We would also like to thank the Swim Association for working so closely with us and most of all we’d like to thank our volunteers, a truly stellar effort by everyone involved.

rescue vessels attending a medical incident

rescue vessels attending a medical incident


Channel 81 – A Huge Boost to Radio Coverage off Rottnest

March 28th, 2014

A recently installed VHF repeater station on Rottnest Island has provided a significant boost to radio coverage for those travelling further out to sea. This new repeater should comfortably provide coverage for at least 30 nautical miles off the back of Rottnest. This means that fishermen at the FADS will now have reliable communications to VN6Di in Fremantle. Ch 81 icom

When Should You Use it?

We encourage boaties to only use 81 when they need to. For example a typical trip to Rottnest should only require channel 73, however if at any stage you do have trouble reaching us, feel free to try us on 81. If you are travelling beyond Rotto, we strongly recommend switching to 81 & logging on.

How Does it Work?

Unlike other channels such as 73 & 16, channel 81 is a Duplex channel, this means that all transmissions must go via the repeater and do not go directly from one radio to another. This enables individuals to utilise the superior height and power of the repeater station and hence get far greater coverage.

A Huge Boost to Offshore Coverage

A Huge Boost to Offshore Coverage


The EPIRB exempt zone is long gone

March 16th, 2014

Boater rescued after spending the night on an upturned boat

Boater rescued after spending the night on an upturned boat

Over the past few years the waters in-between Fremantle and the islands (including Rottnest) have been designated as an EPIRB exempt zone. While this was handy in one sense, it did raise some obvious concerns over safety, particularly given the extremely high volume of boats using the passage between Fremantle and Rottnest, as well as the number of vessels getting into trouble each year in that area.

As of 1st January 2014 the EPIRB exempt zone has been abolished, meaning that if your vessel is operating more than 2 nautical miles from the mainland shore an EPIRB is now a mandatory requirement in your safety kit. While this has raised a few grumbles from some of the casual fishermen in Cockburn sound, there is no doubt that in a world with strong afternoon winds that render flares much less useful, an EPIRB can very often be the difference between life and death. Bear in mind that Cockburn Sound at night is as hard a place to search as the open ocean: it’s an extensive body of water littered with navigation hazards.


Buy a GPS equipped EPIRB

Buy a GPS equipped EPIRB

The new EPIRB requirement is likely to have caught a few people unawares after they return from their holidays at Rottnest, but if you are one of the people requiring a new EPIRB we very strongly recommend paying a few extra dollars for a model that has a GPS chip. This will give your exact position to the first passing satellite, which is significantly faster than waiting for several satellite passes leading to an approximated/triangulated position after 30 to 60 minutes. Furthermore, most rescue vessels in the Metro area, as well as our control tower in Fremantle, can detect and track EPRIB activations.

If you don’t have a GPS EPIRB, don’t wait until next Christmas to consider upgrading. A new GPS EPIRB might be a healthy and handy alternative to a few Easter eggs.

Other things to do with your GPS EPIRB

With three major incidents in recent weeks, involving multi-agency overnight searches, there is no doubt that an activated EPIRB might have greatly reduced the length of time that people were waiting for assistance.

Always log on with your local sea rescue group or tell someone your plans. In the event that you are unable to activate your EPIRB, it’s critical that at a given time someone will raise the alarm that you are missing. The metro area is incredibly well served with rescued vessels and aircraft, but they are useless if no one knows you are missing.

And finally, please don’t think  “this won’t happen to me”. The reality is that boating accidents and emergencies only happen to people like you: people who go boating. If you have an uncle/Dad/aunt/cousin who you know goes boating without logging on and without an EPIRB, point them in the direction of this article and make sure they always log on.


Busy December sees in 2014

January 4th, 2014

The rescue crews are working on a 24 hour roster over the Christmas and New Year period to ensure that boaters in the Perth area are well looked after should an emergency arise. While the relatively cool weather has kept the rescue numbers down around Christmas, December 2013 was our busiest on record.

In total we were called to assist 119 vessels in the month of December, helping 440 people return safely to shore.

We have attended capsized vessels, vessels aground, boat fires, a number of medical responses, missing divers, swimmers and kite-surfers, as well as many boats experiencing mechanical difficulties.

With a rescue crew permanently on Rottnest over the last two weeks, we have been able to respond to offshore emergencies in the Rottnest area within minutes. Many thanks to the Rottnest Rangers and Rottnest Island Authority for facilitating a mooring for our vessel Gemini 1 at very short notice on Christmas Eve and over the holidays.

We wish all our members and supporters a safe and prosperous new year and look forward to seeing you on the water over the summer… hopefully not at the other end of a tow rope.

Happy New Year!

Gemini during a kite surfer rescue training exercise

Gemini during a kite surfer rescue training exercise


Ocean Angels

January 4th, 2014

In case you missed it, here is the recent news feature on the crews of Fremantle Sea Rescue.  Thanks to Chanel 10 and the support of rescue helicopter Rescue 65.


Have a Safe & Merry Christmas on the Water

December 25th, 2013

From everyone at Fremantle Sea Rescue, we’d like to wish you a safe and happy Christmas and New Year, here are a few simple tips to help keep you and your family safe on the water.

Join Up Become a member of Fremantle Sea Rescue for just $35/year. Members receive their own unique “FG” callsign to use to log on with us, this helps us find you more quickly and effectively if you are overdue. As a member we will also tow you to your home mooring, pen or club, non-members are taken to the nearest safe port. Membership fees also make up a valuable part of our funding that helps to keep us equipped with the latest rescue tools and technology.

Log On

It could be the difference between lost and found. Logging a journey with Sea Rescue is easy, just call VN6Di on VHF  Ch73 or 27meg Ch90… and tell us:

Remember to log off! If you do forget and have already stepped off the boat, just call us on 9335 1332.

Safety First

Remember, the skipper of a vessel is responsible for all those on board. Ensure you have all of the safety gear you need for your vessel and where you are going. For a typical trip to Rotto you should have:

For a full list of mandatory safety equipment visit:


Ready for the Summer Rush

November 21st, 2013

Fremantle Sea Rescue is rounding off on an intensive programme of personnel training, ready for the upcoming busy summer period.

We take a great deal of pride in the skills and abilities of our volunteers and see it as our responsibility to ensure they are trained to the highest possible level. Over the last few months a number of courses and training initiatives have been run to help maintain this level of training including Apply First Aid, Advanced Resuscitation and MARSAR.


Run by the Fremantle Water Police, MARSAR or Marine Search and Rescue is a course designed to teach the skills, steps and procedures required in the co-ordination of marine search and rescue. This in-depth course ran over 5 nights and included theory, a “desktop” SAR exercise and finally a full practical search off Fremantle. The exercise involved 2 vessels from Fremantle Sea Rescue, 1 vessel from Cockburn Sea Rescue and 2 vessels from Water Police, eventually resulting in the successful recovery of “Bob” the rescue dummy. Our skippers and crew who participated in this course are now qualified On-Scene Controllers in the event of a marine search and rescue.

“Bob” is Successfully Located

Kite Surfer Rescue Initiative 

Over the last few years the sport of Kite Surfing has experienced a boom in the metro area and subsequently the number of kite surfer related rescues and reports has risen dramatically. A recent incident in Cottesloe where a man was killed when he lost control of his kite has further highlighted the unique dangers associated with the sport. This has caused Fremantle Sea Rescue to develop a best practice procedure for assessing and safely rescuing a kite surfer in distress. To do this we have enlisted the help of Christian Bulota from Action Sports WA, Christian is a senior kite surfing instructor and has vast personal experience with rescues of this kind. In October we hosted a presentation by Christian attended by crew from Fremantle and Cockburn Sea Rescue, Water Police and Surf life Saving WA. The presentation highlighted the different problems that a kite surfer can experience and how best to deal with each one and the dangers involved. This theory was successfully put to practice recently in a training exercise between Christian and Fremantle off south beach. The exercise was filmed from a number of angles and the footage will now be made into a training video and be made available to other organisations.

Christian Gemini

A Kite Surfer Meets his Rescuers. Image Credit: Christian Bulota, Action Sports WA


EPIRB Exempt Zone Removed

November 21st, 2013

From the 1st of January 2014 the EPIRB Exempt Zone between Fremantle and Rottnest Island will be removed. All recreational boaters will be required to carry a 406 EPIRB when travelling more than 2 nautical miles from the mainland shore or 400m from Rottnest, Carnac or Garden Island. …more

Fremantle Sea Rescue welcomes this news as the vast majority of serious marine incidents, including deaths in recent years, have occurred inside the current EPIRB exempt zone. We believe this law change has the serious potential to save lives.

Go GPS Equipped

We strongly encourage all boaties venturing off the coast to invest in a GPS EQUIPPED 406 EPIRB, these cost a little more than non-GPS units, however the difference they make is enormous. All 406 EPIRBS can be detected within seconds by Geostationary satellites, however only GPS equipped units can relay their exact location in this initial detection period. Non-GPS EPIRBS have to be located by orbiting satellites which take around 90 minutes on average to establish a location but can take up to 5 hours. Not only are GPS EPIRBS located far quicker but they are also accurate to within 120 metres, non-GPS units only have an accuracy of 5km.


Remember, it is extremely important to REGISTER your EPIRB! Activation of registered EPIRBS can be identified as legitimate or accidental very quickly by making contact with the owner, unregistered units however can result in extensive searches that consume huge amounts of Government and Volunteer resources for accidental activations.



Courtesy, Department of Transport


The Numbers Are In: Fremantle’s Busiest Year

November 21st, 2013

Rescue Stats 12-13-01


New Promotions, November ’13

November 14th, 2013

The committee of Fremantle Sea Rescue are very pleased to announce three key new appointments to the group.

Andrew Wright has been appointed as the group’s new Operations Officer. Andrew has been effectively filling this role for the past few months and with his extensive history with the group – being a recipient of either the Crew Award or Spirit award in four successive years – as well as being a Senior Skipper, makes him the ideal man for the job. The Operations Officer’s role includes overseeing the group has sufficient qualified and competent people to run our rescue boats and tower, having a rescue roster planned several months ahead, overseeing the operational status of the five group vessels as well as final level decision making regarding rescue work and vessel movements.

Bill Porter joins the management committee in the role of Mid-week Coordinator. This mid week role is a big one, ensuring we have a five minute response time to any emergency from midnight Sunday to midnight Friday, before handing over to the weekend crew. Managing these 300 to 400 annual mid-week rescues, as well as radio tower shifts and inductions will no doubt keep him busy over the coming months.

Katrina Gartrell has taken the position of projects manager, a role which primarily involves  communicating with our primary stakeholders and sponsors, as well as negotiating new agreements to the benefit of the group.

Congratulations and thanks to all three.


Kite-surfer Rescue Presentation: 1/10/13

September 30th, 2013

Due to the increasing number of kite-surf related Search and Rescue incidents in the Perth Metro area, Fremantle Sea Rescue are looking to develop a best practice procedure for the recovery of kite-surfers into a rescue vessel.  This is with an emphasis on learning:

 - when/how it is best to approach a kite-surfer in the water

 - when/how it is better to approach the kite itself and use that as a recovery aid

 - how to control, deflate or detach a kite and its lines from a kite-surfer

 - what instructions to give to the kite-surfer if any

 - what sort of kite-surf specific injuries may be expected

Often there are times when a kite-surfer may not be able to jettison their own equipment (e.g. tangled lines or unconsciousness) so it is important that rescuers know what to do in these situations without endangering themselves or compromising the rescue vessel.  The fatality of a kite-surfer on the beach in Cottesloe last week demonstrates the potential danger, even to experienced kite-surfers.

Fremantle Sea Rescue are hosting a presentation by Christian Bulota from Action Sports WA this Tuesday 1st October at East Fremantle Yacht Club at 7pm sharp.  Christian is the school manager and senior instructor at Actions Sports.  He runs the rescue training and revalidation programme for their own kite-surf instructors; he has been personally involved with at least 15 kite-surf rescues over the last three years in the Perth area.  Action Sports have developed their own best practices which they are kindly offering to pass on to us. This is with a view to getting the discussion started and then formalising the practice for our rescue crew.

The presentation will be from 7pm to 7.40pm followed by a Q&A.  There will be a practical on-water follow-up session with a kite-surfer and rescue vessel within a few weeks.

You are welcome to join the crew from Fremantle Sea Rescue in the Yacht Club bar from 6/6.30pm onwards.  If you wish to attend please advise me by email by 10am Tuesday so I can pass numbers onto the yacht club.  I apologise for the very short notice, however this Tuesday is the last opportunity to get the Fremantle Sea Rescue crew and Christian together prior to the season, and still have time to implement the practice.

 Please circulate this invite to anyone who may be interested to attend.

Kite-surfer Rescue Woodman Point

Kite-surfer Rescue Woodman Point


Fremantle Now Gazetted Under FESA Act

August 18th, 2013

Fremantle Sea Rescue’s vessels have recently been gazetted under the FESA Act by the Department of Fire & Emergency Services.

In 2003 the FESA Volunteer Marine Rescue Act was created and the majority of WA’s sea rescue groups came under its funding and insurance model. At the time, Fremantle, Cockburn and Whitfords sea rescue groups chose to stay independent of the VMRS and formed a parent organisation called Metropolitan Sea Rescue. Along with this funding Metro also secured government RiskCover insurance to protect the three group’s volunteers and assets. Unfortunately in mid-2012 it was discovered that the RiskCover insurance could no longer be offered and short-term protection was put in place until commercial insurance could be arranged. This revelation combined with some internal changes prompted Fremantle Sea Rescue’s committee to re-asses their situation. Over a year later and after an extremely thorough investigation of all possible options, on Tuesday the 25th of June at a Special General Meeting of Fremantle Sea Rescue members, an almost unanimous vote was held to have the group gazetted under the FESA Act.

As part of this change, there are now a whole range of advantages Fremantle Sea Rescue and its members can benefit from. These include full RiskCover insurance for the group’s volunteers and assets, this insurance is significantly more robust than any commercial insurance available. More reliable funding is also now in place to better cover rescue operational costs, grants are available for new equipment and when required, majority funding for replacement rescue vessels. This is particularly important as Fremantle Sea Rescue now averages at least two rescues per day over the course of a year, which puts some strain on the fleet of rescue vessels.

Fremantle Sea Rescue volunteers also now have a range of nationally accredited courses available to them at no cost, such as Senior First Aid and Advanced Resuscitation which previously volunteers had to pay for themselves.

This security of funding and insurance will mean the all-volunteer committee can spend less time planning their fundraising and more time on building an even more efficient rescue organisation with safer and  more satisfied volunteers. Work is already underway on significantly upgrading our flagship Rescue vessel R100 to make it safer and more effective than ever. These upgrades include better suspension seats and more of them, all new state-of-the-art electronics, better casualty recovery and treatment facilities and a fully re-engineered targa bar.

These benefits to our group will also flow onto Fremantle Sea Rescue’s valued members and the boating public as a whole. With more capable vessels and better trained crew, we’ll be readier than ever when you need us most.



Annual General Meeting 2013

August 5th, 2013

The Fremantle Sea Rescue AGM and party was once again held this year at the Navy Club in Fremantle. There was a large turnout of volunteers, from new trainees to many of the life members, as well as guests from Whitfords Sea Rescue, Cockburn Sea Rescue and the Department of Fire and Emergency Services.

The outgoing president – Phil McKeown – acknowledged the achievements made by the members and committee over the previous twelve months and announced the incoming committee and annual awards recipients as follows:

President: Philip Martin
Vice-President: Phil McKeown
Treasurer: Ray Constantine
Secretary: Paul Oen
Radio Officer: Marie Santa-Maria
Fleet Management: Nick Hill
PR and Policies: Cam Macmillan
Events: Josh Gammon-Carson

Ray Constantine – Life Membership
Georgie More – Like Membership

Spirit Award – Cam Macmillan
Crew Award – Karen Montford
Trainee Award – Phil Mattaboni
Trainee Award – Glen Geraghty

2013 AGM at the Navy Club

2013 AGM at the Navy Club

A good feed for all the crew

A good feed for all the crew

Outgoing president Phil McKeown

Outgoing president Phil McKeown

Life Membership for Georgie More

Life Membership for Georgie More

And life membership for Ray Constantine

And life membership for Ray Constantine


Crews Battle Wild Seas In Search of Missing Yachtsman

July 17th, 2013

Fremantle Sea Rescue was involved in a major search and rescue operation last night, Tuesday 16th of July.  A Mayday call was received at approximately 6.40pm from a sailor in distress some way off the coast of Mindarie. Our vessel R100 along with the new police vessel – Cygnet V, travelled north to take part in the search which ended with the successful rescue of the man, albeit with the sad loss of his dog.

The crews were met with gale force winds and breaking six metre swells. Skipper Tim Wright said “The conditions were probably the worst that I’ve been out in during my 10 years in the group”. R100 suffered some very minor damage but she and crew came through a serious ordeal mostly unscathed.  Due to the severe conditions, R100 and Cygnet V berthed overnight at Hillarys Marina.

The chances of finding someone alive in yesterday’s conditions were extremely slim, but it’s great testament to the bravery of Tim Wright, Will Conlon and Jamie Van Egmond that they nonetheless went, joined the search, and ended the night with a great result.  Well done guys, last night really was an ‘above and beyond’ event.

Thanks also to Josh Hills and Paul Oen – who starting coordinating our response from Headquarters whilst simultaneously running a trainee induction course – and who stayed to maintain communications from the tower until past midnight, even managing to squeeze in another smaller scale rescue inside Fishing Boat Harbour. Thanks as well to Mark Zuvela who assisted on R100 at the start and drove up to Hillarys to bring the crew back.

Great work team; a great result for Fremantle Sea Rescue and all involved.


Partnership with Stormy Lifejackets

October 5th, 2012

As part of continuing efforts to improve the safety of the our volunteers in the busy and sometimes hazardous marine rescue environment, Fremantle Sea Rescue is very pleased to be continuing the great partnership with Stormy Lifejackets.

Josh, Andrew and Ray model the Stormy yokes

Josh, Andrew and Ray model the Stormy yokes

The Stormy Life Vest Premium 180N are now a permanent fixture on all Fremantle Sea Rescue vessels, and wearing lifejackets is compulsory for all on board when the vessels are under way. Stormy have also provided our rescue teams with Stormy Jackets and Stormy Life Vests in the past, therefore with the easy and plentiful availability of the Stormy lifejackets on all our vessels means that it has quickly become second nature to don these great lifejackets as soon as any crew get on board. With felt neck linings and overall very light weight, these new life vests remain comfortable even at the end of 10 hours on the water.

Vigilant with crew wearing Stormy yokes

Vigilant with crew wearing Stormy Life Vests

Check out the Stormy Lifejackets website for more information, and look out for them next time you see a Fremantle Sea Rescue vessel go past. Finally many thanks to Stormy Lifejackets for their support in this ongoing great partnership.

Always keep those lifejackets handy

Always keep those lifejackets handy


AGM 2012 at The Navy Club

August 11th, 2012

Fremantle Sea Rescue held its Annual General Meeting on Tuesday 7th August at the Navy Club in Fremantle.

As well as being a formal requirement for the Group, the AGM this year was also a very enjoyable social occasion. The surrounds of the Navy Club were appropriately nautical and we would like to thank the Navy Club for being such gracious hosts at very short notice. We hope to have many more volunteer social evenings in the Club in future.

We would also like to extend thanks to our special guests on the evening: Mark Carruthers and Mike Graham (commanders of Whitfords and Cockburn Sea Rescue Groups), David Corney from the Rottnest Channel Swim Association and Paul Crawshaw from the Water Police.

David Corney presented the Group with a generous donation from the Rottnest Channel Swim Association in recognition of the significant involvement of Fremantle Sea Rescue in this year’s swim event. The Group is very appreciative of the donation and values our partnership with the Rotto Swim.

A number of awards were presented at the AGM (full details are below) and the new committee for 2012/2013 were voted in.

Outgoing president Phil Martin thanked the outgoing committee for their efforts over the last year, and then stood down from the position. Many congratulations to Phil Mckeown, the new president of Fremantle Sea Rescue.

Long Service Award – 20 years

15 Years Service

10 Years Service

5 Years Service

Crew Award

Spirit Award

Trainee Award (Inaugral)

Golden Radio for 15 years of Home Base Coverage

Special Recognition

The Whole Sea Rescue Crew

The Whole Sea Rescue Crew

The outgoing committee

The outgoing committee

A very well attended AGM

A very well attended AGM

Tony, Georgie and the amazing Golden Radio award

Tony, Georgie and the amazing Golden Radio award


Minister Troy Buswell visits Fremantle Sea Rescue

July 18th, 2012

This morning Fremantle Sea Rescue were very pleased to extend a warm welcome to Emergency Services Minister and State Treasurer Troy Buswell and his Chief-of-Staff Rachael Turnseck.

The visiting party from the State Government toured the Group’s facilities and four of our rescue vessels, which had been brought round to our HQ area for this visit.

Following the tour a presentation was given by the President Phil Martin, Vice-President Tim Wright, Treasurer Ray Constantine and Partner Manager Phil Scanlan.  The Group outlined to the minister the scale of the Group’s rescue workload over the previous twelve months, some of the exciting new partnerships we have recently developed, as well as our plans for the boating season ahead.

Group Photo: Troy Buswell and Committee

Group Photo: Troy Buswell and Committee

Down to Business

Down to Business


Three men rescued 40km out to sea

June 10th, 2012

Fremantle Sea Rescue were called to assist three men who were forced to abandon their vessel 40 km out to sea after it was breached by large waves.

As part of Fremantle Sea Rescue’s regular weekend schedule, rescue vessel Reliant (skippered by Josh Hills and crewed by Leandra Fallis and Roy Gardiner) were already patrolling the northern bays of Rottnest Island when they heard the distress call come over the marine radio emergency channel. Quickly working out that they were the closest rescue vessel to the location of the stricken men, Reliant was immediately despatched to assist.

The three men had been in the water for some time, however a passing recreational assistance offered some shelter until Reliant arrived on scene with first aid supplies and thermal blankets.


Claremont Yacht Club Open Day

May 21st, 2012

Fremantle Sea Rescue were invited along to a fun filled open day at Claremont Yacht Club last weekend. The open day was an opportunity for Claremont members, and those thinking of joining, to enjoy a social day down by the river.

Cameron Macmillan (skipper) and Karen Montford (crew) from Fremantle Sea Rescue lead a couple of flare demonstrations which were very well received, although those standing downwind might have got more than they bargained for.

Fremantle Sea Rescue are always happy to participate in events on the Swan and Canning Rivers. A third of our service requests or rescues (about 220 per annum) happen on these waters, so it’s nice to catch up with the boating public without a tow-rope or first aid kit in sight.

Cameron keeps an eye on proceedings

Cameron keeps an eye on proceedings

Canoeist gets more than he bargained for

Canoeist gets more than he bargained for

Karen instructs on orange smoke flares

Karen instructs on orange smoke flares

Visible from a great distance.. flares can save your life

Visible from a great distance.. flares can save your life


Every One Counts

May 15th, 2012

We are celebrating National Volunteer Week and Fremantle Volunteer Sea Rescue Group would like to say a huge THANK YOU to all the dedicated volunteers that help the boating public in the Perth Metropolitan area.

Australian volunteers are essential to society, and many charities would struggle to survive without the support of their volunteers.

More than 6 million Australian volunteers contribute more than 700 million hours of community service to so many areas of society, including community health care, heritage and arts, environment conservation, emergency services, education, social justice and sports.

We pay tribute to these volunteers who donate their time and energy to help others.

Volunteers - Every One Counts

Volunteers - Every One Counts


Stranded swimmer rescued off Rottnest

April 28th, 2012

Story from -

A 35-year-old man was lucky to escape unharmed after he was left out to sea off Rottnest Island for three hours yesterday afternoon.

A spokesman for the Water Police said the man was with friends on a work function a 45-foot private boat at the West End of the island when the incident happened.

It is believed the man got off the boat for a swim and the boat left the area not realising he was still in the water.

Fremantle Sea Rescue was called out to assist in finding the man about 4pm but he was located by a private boat owner about 2km offshore before crews could reach him.

Police say the man was treated for mild hypothermia but was later released.

Gemini 1


Missing Divers

April 28th, 2012

There’s never a good day to lose divers, but the conditions today were particularly bad, due to grey skies, rain and 1.5 metre swells.

Fremantle Sea Rescue got a call at approximately 3pm this afternoon from a person in a boat one nautical mile North West of Narrowneck, Rottnest Island. Two divers had gone missing.

The divers were half an hour overdue back to their boat and the person left onboard raised the alarm by using their marine radio, letting off two rocket flares and activating their EPIRB.

Assistance in searching for the divers was conducted by the teams on rescue vessels Vigilant and Reliant and luckily private vessels also assisted in the area.

The two divers were found safely and returned unharmed back to their boat. This was aided by the prompt response of their safety person left on board and the use of their marine safety equipment.

Missing Divers


Rescue 65 winches man to safety

March 21st, 2012

Fremantle Sea Rescue were called to assist ambulance and fire crews who were tending to an injured man after he fell off cliffs at Rocky Bay in North Fremantle. Gemini 1 was on scene in a matter of minutes and was able to move the rescue teams and paramedics to the man’s very isolated position. After the initial medical care had been administered, rescue helicopter Rescue 65 winched the man away and on to hospital.

Cliff fall in Rocky Bay

Cliff fall in Rocky Bay

The stressful situation was handled with incredible professionalism due to an impressive team effort between Fremantle Sea Rescue, fire crew, ambulance crew and water police, the latter’s radio tower operator doing a amazing job communicating between and coordinating the different crews during this intensely busy period.


Sea Rescue sees in the New Year

January 21st, 2012

Last night Fremantle Sea Rescue’s hard-working crew, their partners, and many of the group’s friends celebrated the end of one the busiest peak summer periods on record and welcomed in an exciting new year. The group took over the private Deck Bar at Little Creatures and enjoyed food and drinks at one of the best sightseeing spots in the harbour. It was a sweltering night but a great opportunity to wind down and catch up with old friends and new faces.

Some special awards were also presented in recognition of an extraordinary effort put in by many of the volunteers, particularly during the World Sailing Championships last December. The list of prize winners is at the end of this article and many thanks to the president of Metro Sea Rescue – Roger Howell – for presenting the awards.

The Deck Bar

The Deck Bar

In 2011 Fremantle Sea Rescue responded to 673 rescues, making us Australia’s busiest sea rescue group. During the sailing championships and over the Christmas period the majority of our crew put in three times (or more) the required minimum number of shifts. In addition to which many also assisted with maintenance or servicing well into the night in order to stay on top of proactive schedules.

Through a programme of marketing for specific volunteer roles in the group, we are currently enjoying receiving position enquiries at the rate of 1 or 2 per day. This means our ever increasing rescue response and workload will be handled by well over a hundred volunteers by the end of 2012. However, while these new recruits are being trained up and gaining sea time, the existing volunteers continue to contribute an outstanding amount of time and effort, and achieve a level of service and professionalism of which they can be very proud.

There is no doubt that the spirit of voluntary sea rescue in Fremantle is as strong as ever, and in 2012 Fremantle Sea Rescue will build on its strengths to be recognised as both the busiest and the best sea rescue group in Australia.

The Crew and Friends

The Crew and Friends

Dave and Ian

Dave and Ian



The Deck fills up

The Deck fills up

Chalkboard sign

Chalkboard sign

Roger Howell and Pasquale Mezzatesta

Roger Howell and Pasquale Mezzatesta

Phil gives a speech

Phil gives a speech

Crew Contribution Awards

- Pasquale Mezzatesta, Paul Oen.

Outstanding Commitment Awards

- David Farrell, Nick Hill, Anders Savill, Ray Constantine, Rod O’Connor, Cam Macmillan, Ian Fry, Mike Meehan and Andrew Wright.

Congratulations to all of them.

Many thanks to our sponsor Stage and Studio Productions of West Perth for helping us out with stage equipment at very short notice.


Lifejacket and life-raft training

December 11th, 2011

Following a comprehensive review of crew safety and lifejacket options, the team at Fremantle Sea Rescue held their monthly training night at Melville Aquatic Centre to test out a variety of lifejackets: everything from the cheap-and-cheerful, right up to the state-of-the-art self-inflating yokes with automated man overboard alarms.

The results of the training and testing were interesting, particularly as the most expensive PFD being tested was far from being the best performer.

The crew practised entering the water while wearing jackets, swimming in them, towing other people who may not be able to swim, forming survival huddles and much more.

As a bonus we were also able to pull the cord on the 25 man self-inflating life-raft that was donated to the group as a training aide (photos to follow).

Future crew training in early 2012 will see all our crew being trained up to Advanced Resuscitation level in first aid, as well as extensive off-site fire fighting training.

Training night


Number of Incidents

December 11th, 2011

December is one of the busiest times for Fremantle Volunteer Sea Rescue and in the last couple of days the group has attended a number of incidents.

Rescue vessel Gemini 1 got a call to rescue two people that had been returning from Rottnest Island when their boat started to take on water. The people were saved just off the coast of North Fremantle and their sinking vessel was towed back to a safe port, with skipper Nick Hill and crew Cameron Macmillan.

In the early hours of the morning a husband and wife needed assistance with their broken down vessel in the Swan River at 01:00am, skipper Phil Scanlan and crew Silke Aichele got the couple back safely.

There was no rest the following evening either, as a yacht nearly foundered on the rocks in the entrance to Fremantle’s Fishing Boat Harbour due to engine failure. Due to the quick actions of skipper Nick Hill and crew Keith Emin on rescue vessel Vigilant, the yacht was safely returned back to the harbour.

Yacht Heading Rocks_small


Perth 2011 Sinking Support Boat

December 8th, 2011

The first week into the Perth 2011 World Sailing Championships and Fremantle Volunteer Sea Rescue Group (FVSRG) have been called to duty to assist with a sinking event support boat.

We received a radio call on the race emergency channel 67 into the Perth 2011 Race Bridge Control, which is the FVSRG Headquarters at the end of Mews Road. At the same time the skipper David Farrell on rescue vessel Vigilant with crew David Hadlow who were approximately one mile away looking after a race that was going on the water, they also heard the emergency call on channel 67 and immediately headed off to assist the sinking vessel.

The people were taken out of the water and the vessel had sunk just below the waterline, we were told this was due to a wave breaking over the stern of the support boat, which made it roll over while they were picking up racing buoys. Rescue vessel Vigilant immediately took the sunken vessel in tow, while the people were taken ashore by another rescue vessel.

The 7-meter Aluminum support vessel was towed safely while mostly remaining under water from Leighton race course to Fremantle Sailing Club. Skipper Paul Oen and crew Brad Collins backed up the situation with rescue vessel Mariner 1.

The rescue team got the vessel upright a couple of times, but when they stopped it would go back under the water again. It remained at the boat ramp of Fremantle Sailing Club with only the bow popping out, until the owners arranged for a salvage company to lift it, which they did later in the day.

The rescue went very well as the Fremantle Volunteer Sea Rescue vessel was on scene in a minute’s notice, the people on board the sinking vessel were okay and the vessel was towed back to a safe port.

It is great to see all our emergency preparations are paying of for this sailing event, as FVSRG has many key roles during the World Sailing Championships, where our Headquarters is the full communications bridge, our rescue vessels are looking after all people on the race courses and we are the sole aligned charity for the event.

5 DEC 2011 - 1

5 DEC 2011 - 2small

5 DEC 2011 - 3small

5 DEC 2011 - 3small

5 DEC 2011 - 4small

5 DEC 2011 - 5small


Perth 2011 Public Flare Demonstration

December 7th, 2011

During the Perth 2011 event, the public got the rare opportunity to take part in a flare demonstration that was conducted by Fremantle Volunteer Sea Rescue Group (FVSRG) on Bathers Beach in Fremantle.

Ten members of the public got the chance to learn the importance of boaters carrying flares and the rare opportunity to be able to let off five orange smoke flares and five red handheld flares.

The demonstration allowed the members of the public to experience how to use handheld flares in a safe manner and to show just how effective they can be when needed.

FVSRG hopes nobody ever needs to let off a flare, however we do encourage people to make sure they’re familiar with their flares and here are some general points of interest about them: -

Use of Flares
Always follow the instructions of the flare manufacturer exactly. Serious injury or property damage can occur if these devices are used incorrectly. Always be sure there are no easily combustible materials nearby that could catch fire because of malfunction or human error.

Hand Flare Safety
While standing, ignite the flare and hold it away from your body at a 45 degree angle. Do not hold a burning flare overhead, it could drop sparks on your head! Once the flare burns out place the remains in a non-combustible container or soak with water to avoid accidental ignition of other materials.

If you find yourself in the water ignite the flare while holding it away from your body. In this case it is essential to hold the flare as high out of the water as possible so it is visible to rescuers. Wave the signal from side to side over your head. Avoid looking at the flare while it is burning to avoid eye damage and to preserve night vision.

Flares can ignite spilled fuel floating on the surface of the water. Gasoline is much more easily ignited than diesel fuel but care should be taken when lighting a hand flare if any type of fuel was spilled.

Storage of Flares
Flares are stored at the discretion of the master of the vessel. In general, flares and other pyrotechnic signals are to be stored in a waterproof container in an accessible location. The container should be closed with a latch which cannot be locked. The container needs to be checked regularly for moisture.

Expiration Dates of Flares
All flares have an expiration date printed clearly on the outside of each device. Expired flares cannot be disposed of in the trash as they are hazardous waste. Properly dispose of expired flares at a hazardous waste facility or follow disposal instructions from the manufacturer or your safety equipment contractor.

In the eyes of governing agencies an expired flare is the same as no flare at all. Commercial vessels are inspected frequently enough that expiring flares will be noticed and replaced well ahead of their end of service date. On private vessels the skipper should make sure the flares are in date.

History of Flares
It is known through historic depictions that Vikings and Polynesian voyagers used fire signals to communicate while at sea. In the 1870’s the wife of a deceased naval scientist patented and further developed an elaborate scheme to communicate with variously colored flares. Martha Coston’s patent was eventually purchased and used by the US Navy.

Orange Flare 1

Red Flare 1

Red Flare 2

Red Flare 3

Red Flare 4


Sinking Boat in the Swan River

December 6th, 2011

It was a very busy weekend for Fremantle Volunteer Sea Rescue Group (FVSRG) and our strategically placed rescue vessels really paid off again for one lucky boater. The response time for Mariner 1 to get a sinking boat between the Crawley boat shed and Royal Perth Yacht Club (RPYC) was approximately 60 seconds.

FVSRG skipper Michael Kevill and crew Phil McKeown were on scene with the stricken 28 foot boat with high flow salvage pumps and the rescue team towed the boat to the beach where it nestled safely on the sand with no damage to the shafts.

Stuart Walton the General Manager of RPYC kindly came down to assist with an emergency lift of the vessel at their yacht club. Stuart is always very keen to help the boating public and through a close working partnership with FVSRG Stuart and his team are on hand at a moments notice for full support.

FVSRG skipper Andrew Duffy and crew David Hadlow provided further assistance, along with the very kind backup support from the WA Water Police, who provided an extra salvage pump and much needed refreshments.

The Mariner 1 team were then off to another rescue in the river and worked hard late into the night.

Quick reminder please make sure the bilge alarms on your vessels are in good working order, as this helped this boater raise the alarm early on, which definitely saved his boat.

Boat Taking On Water Beach 1_small

Boat Taking On Water Beach 2_small


Visit the Fremantle Sea Rescue stand at the Perth 2011 Worlds Village

December 4th, 2011

We are excited to let you know the Fremantle Volunteer Sea Rescue stand is up and running at the Perth 2011 Worlds Village. Come and visit us at stand number 52 to say G’day.  Also check out our latest merchandise, as we have some new and exciting items on sale for fundraising support, to help save lives at sea.

Stand 1

Stand 2

Stand 3


The Sea Rescue t-shirts have landed

November 24th, 2011

Brand new in store, the Sea Rescue t-shirts are a great way to show your support for your favourite WA sea rescue group.

Wear them on the beach, wear them on the boat, wear them in nightclub.  Be the envy of the high street with the first in the upcoming spring/summer range from Fremantle Sea Rescue.  (Available in any colour, as long as it’s red)

They’re just 25 bucks; to buy one today just click here to go through to our online store.

The New Sea Rescue t-shirts are here


Sinking Timber Vessel

November 19th, 2011

At approximately 12:30pm on Saturday 19th November 2011, Fremantle Volunteer Sea Rescue received an emergency call to attend to 60-foot wooden vessel that was taking on water just out side Fremantle Port.

Rescue vessel R100 with senior skipper Malcolm Evans, crew Mike Kevill, Chris Robertson, Ray Smith and Sam Willis onboard took off at speed to assist. Rescue vessel Reliant with skipper Phil Scanlan and crew Phil McKeown following at speed as backup to R100.

When the rescue teams arrived on scene the people onboard were bailing out water with buckets, due to their bilge pumps not working anymore. The rescue crew jumped on board the sinking vessel with two high flow salvage pumps and to assist the people on board.

The amount of water already in the vessel and the amount that was still flowing in, raised the concern for R100 to start towing the vessel to a safe port. There was an attempt to tow the vessel, however the situation had deteriorated to the point whereby the decision was made to rescue the people off the sinking vessel.

The vessel is now in approximately 7 meters of water, just north of the North Mole of Fremantle Port and out of the direct line of boating traffic. However please approach the area with caution until the salvage teams have removed the vessel from the area. The really good news is that all the people onboard were rescued safely and taken back to shore.

Sinking Vessel 1

Sinking Vessel 2

Sinking Vessel 3

Sinking Vessel 4

Sinking Vessel 6

Sinking Vessel 7

Sinking Vessel 8


Search for man overboard continues

November 18th, 2011

The search for the missing Filipino sailor who fell overboard from a bulk carrier yesterday continued off Rottnest Island at first light this morning with sea and air search teams.

Fremantle Volunteer Sea Rescue deployed two rescue vessels; R100 with senior skipper David Farrell, senior crew Paul Oen and crew Silke Aichele. Accompanied by rescue vessel Vigilant with skipper Andrew Duffy, crew David Hadlow and crew Brad Collins. Louis Botes Fremantle Sea Rescue crew was also onboard rescue vessel Avail with skipper Andrew Wright from Cockburn Sea Rescue.

Fremantle Sea Rescue skippers said conditions were rough, but better than what they were yesterday.


Large Scale Search

November 17th, 2011

Fremantle Volunteer Sea Rescue Group was part of a massive search and rescue operation, looking for a 27 year-old Filipino man missing from a container ship off Rottnest Island. A mayday call was made from the container ship MSC Siena at approximately 11.30am 17.11.11, which was about three nautical miles west-northwest of Rottnest Island.

It was reported that the man was strapped to a harness on the bow of the container ship early in the morning when a large wave crashed against the hull. The man’s harness broke and he fell into the sea.

A commercial vessel later found a pair of work shoes believed to be those of the missing man floating in the area, along with life buoys and other items of equipment.

Fremantle Volunteer Sea Rescue had deployed two of our rescue vessels, R100 with senior skipper David Farrell and Philip Martin crew, along with rescue vessel Vigilant with skipper Nick Hill and senior crew Phil Scanlan. There were eight rescue vessels in total and the Marine Rescue and Coordination Centre in Canberra had organised aircraft to be searching also.

The search took place in approximately 6-meter swells and conditions were pretty rough out there, but hopes remained high in trying to locate the missing man. Part way through the search all rescue vessels were required to take shelter for a short time has very strong squalls came through the search area. The photo shows the rescue vessels taking shelter for a short time and then the teams were back out searching until dark.

Thanks to the other rescue teams and vessels that attended also; Whitfords Sea Rescue, Cockburn Sea Rescue, Rockingham Sea Rescue, WA Water Police, Rottnest Rangers, and Marine Safety. Special thanks to WA Water Police for arranging crew transfers, food and drinks for the rescue teams.

Search Teams 17.11.11 Photo


Whale Accident

November 11th, 2011

Fremantle Volunteer Sea Rescue Group was called out at 17:15 to attend a very unfortunate accident in which a whale had been struck by a passing recreational boat. Rescue vessel R100 attended the scene – with skipper Tim Wright and Senior Crew Anders Savill.

Fremantle Sea Rescue investigated the whale’s injuries and escorted the vessel involved back to Perth. The investigation of the whale’s injuries took place just north of the Windmills (32, 01.312 south and 115, 38.151 east).

A collision between a moving vessel and a whale may cause fatal injuries or severe distress to the animal, as well as potentially injuring those on board the vessel.  Please be especially vigilant this time of year as there are a high number of whales in our area.



Whale 3


The Blessing of the Fleet

November 1st, 2011

Our volunteers in the communications tower of Fremantle Sea Rescue Group were please to see the annual return of the beautifully decorated fishing vessels for The Blessing of the Fleet.

The Blessing of the Fleet was first introduced to Fremantle by Italian migrant fishermen in 1948, it’s become an important annual event for the port, combining culture and history in a day of fun.

Rod O’Conner one of the groups skippers and tower operators took these photos looking down on the fleet from the balcony of the groups radio tower. The Fremantle Sea Rescue communications tower takes over 15,000 radio calls per year, so it was lucky Rod and the team could be part of the event while being on duty.

The Blessing of the Fleet - looking west

The Blessing of the Fleet - looking east

Fremantle Volunteer Sea Rescue Group wish the fishermen and women all the very best for their season ahead.


Helicopter Rescue Exercise

October 31st, 2011

Rescue 65 & Leeuwin II

On Friday 28th October, Fremantle Sea Rescue took part in a joint training exercise between the tall ship Leeuwin II and the RAC Rescue Helicopter ‘Rescue 65′.

The exercise was to simulate a medical evacuation both directly from Leeuwin itself and from the ship’s small rescue craft or another assisting rescue boat. The crews practiced numerous different scenarios including single man and two man lifts, as well as lowering and retrieving a stretcher, all while the chopper pilot skillfully maneuvered the aircraft around Leeuwin’s tall masts and rigging. Fremantle Sea Rescue’s rapid response medivac vessel Gemini 1 was used for the exercise, taking part in both on water crew transfers with Leeuwin and air lifts with Rescue 65.

The exercise went off without a hitch thanks to the skills and experience of all those involved. We would like to extend our thanks to the team on Rescue 65 and Leuwin II for inviting us to participate.

Rescue 65


Shark Attack at Rottnest

October 22nd, 2011

It is with great sadness that Fremantle Sea Rescue are involved in assisting with the aftermath of another shark attack in our patrol area.

Skipper Tim Wright, with crew members Anders Savill and Brad Collins onboard Rescue vessel R100, were called to assist Water Police and Rottnest Ranger boats in ensuring that no members of the public were exposed to any further risk around Rottnest Island. R100, joined by Reliant with skipper Phil Scanlan and senior-crew Cameron Macmillan, did locate a 2.5m shark in the vicinity of the island, although it is unknown whether this was involved in the earlier incident.

Our thoughts and sympathies are with the family and friends of the deceased.

R100 & Reliant searching for the shark. (Image courtesy 9 News)

R100 & Reliant searching for the shark. (Image courtesy 9 News)


Search for Missing Swimmer off Cottesloe

October 11th, 2011

Fremantle Sea Rescue vessels Vigilant & R100 spent a large part of yesterday combing the waters off Cottesloe beach, searching for a missing swimmer.

At around 9:30am yesterday morning Fremantle Sea rescue were called to help search for the missing man. Rescue vessel Vigilant was sent to Cottesloe and searched along side Green 2 from Whitfords and Water Police vessels. Vigilant was joined later in the day by R100. Bathers were found on the sea floor by divers at round 4:00pm and later identified as belonging to the man. Authorities have not ruled out the possibility of a shark attack and the beach was closed for the remainder of the day. The search was called off at around 5:30 in the afternoon, R100 continued to search until after dark.

The missing man is believed to be 64 year old Bryn Martin, a regular morning swimmer at Cottesloe Beach. Our thoughts go out to Mr Martin’s family and friends.

The search will resume today.

Fremantle's R100 still searching as the sun sets

Fremantle's R100 still searching as the sun sets


The Boatmen Help Out

September 28th, 2011

Winter for Fremantle Sea Rescue, is a time for specialised training and well needed boat maintenance. Over the last year the group conducted in excess of 640 assists to the boating public and during the downtime months we carefully attend to our five rescue vessels.  This involves a number of maintenance operations including lifting the boats out of the water, anti-fouling their hulls, servicing engines and propellers and giving the vessel a full polish.

This year a very kind offer of support came in from The Boatmen, who are based out of Aquarama Marina in East Fremantle. John Arnold (Owner) and Dylan Watts (Manager) kindly donated their polishing equipment and team of workers to come down to Fremantle and give our lead rescue vessel R100 a full topside polish.

The team from The Boatmen, professionally maintain some of Perth’s most luxurious vessels and are renown for their expertise and skill in this area. The team did a fantastic job of our lead Rescue vessel and she looks great for the season ahead.

Frank Pisani, Fremantle Sea Rescue’s Operations Officer said “Recently advice was sought from The Boatmen Manager Dylan Watts in regards to what was the best action to take in respect to fading of R100’s superstructure. The end result was very impressive and it’s donations such as this that help keep our volunteer group financially viable. There is also some advice we can offer the boating public from this exercise. It is important to keep up regular maintenance such as polishing as it will not only protect your investment but also reduces overall running costs”.

Dylan said “The Boatmen strongly support the emergency services given so readily by Fremantle Sea Rescue to boats in trouble and we have great respect for the untiring dedication of their crews”.

Fremantle Volunteer Sea Rescue Group would like to thank all the public that support our volunteer organization all year round and would like to pay a special thanks to John, Dylan and all the team from The Boatmen. To contact the Boatmen, just call John 0412 167 524 or Dylan 0410 527 915.

The Boatmen Hard at Work

The Boatmen Hard at Work


Mixing it with the Big Boats

September 25th, 2011

Three Fremantle Sea Rescue representatives recently attended the Sydney International Boat Show. This boat show is one of the biggest, If not the biggest in the country and sees the best manufacturers of everything marine flock to Darling Harbour to show off the latest and greatest.

As Australia’s busiest single sea rescue group, with a fleet of 6 boats in total, our ever growing group decided it would be beneficial to attend Australia’s biggest boat show. Appointments were prearranged to meet with senior representatives of engine suppliers, electronics suppliers, boat manufacturers and potential sponsors or partners.

As a result of the visit and our talks with various manufacturers, members of our in house maintenance team will now be specially trained to work on our various engines and drive systems, including the use of diagnostic software. This initiative will ensure that our vessels will be maintained to a high standard and ensure that repairs can be carried out at any hour or day. This will tie in nicely with the Royal Perth Yacht Club’s kind donation of the use of a workshop in their Fremantle Annex, which has been set up with tools and spares.

We also met with key personnel of a large electronics manufacturer looking at a new range of hi-tech navigation, depth sounding and radar equipment. During discussions we suggested the value of incorporating a search facility in the software to enable us set up a search grid based around waypoints input by crew. This could also be interfaced to the autopilot to ensure a precise pattern is followed. The engineers were eager and excited with the idea and are looking at its feasibility, with hope to have a result shortly. If this unique feature is adopted it will become an invaluable tool in finding persons and or vessels missing at sea.

We also met with personnel from NSW volunteer rescue and inspected their range of vessels and equipment. Protocols and procedures were shared and although we are thousands of kilometres apart it was amazing how similar we all operate. From these meetings and other research we can confirm that Fremantle Volunteer Sea Rescue is without question the busiest group in Australia with a predicted 700 calls for assistance in 2011.

The visit was a great success and will certainly assist our ever-growing group in staying at the forefront of technology, safety and professionalism.

Hot Spot - The Big Brands from all around the World at Sydney Boat Show

Hot Spot - The Big Brands from all around the World at Sydney Boat Show


Boat Aground in Longreach Bay

September 25th, 2011

Saturday 8th of August 2011

It was another quiet Winter’s day, normally a good time to catch up on maintenance, cleaning and training, until the phone rings.

A 7.8 metre vessel had dragged anchor in Longreach Bay, Rottnest Island and was stranded on shore. With no one in danger and the vessel stuck fast, this was another great training opportunity for our crew and trainee skippers. Two of our rescue vessels, R100 and Reliant set off for Longreach to assist.

The northerly winter swell and north-easterly winds made the entry into Longreach interesting with breakers crossing the channel. The vessel was on its side on the waters edge laying against a mound of sand. The best route for towing the vessel clear was blocked by a small reef and shallow water.

After about an hour the crew managed to free the vessel from the sand bank and turn it around a bit further up the beach. Attempts were then made to upright the vessel and pump it dry before taking it in tow. Unfortunately as the vessel was sitting on one side the fuel had transferred to the lower tank, additionally a large amount of wet heavy sand had gathered in the vessel. Desperate, the skipper called for a local tractor to assist, however the operator feared the tractor would become stuck in the boggy sand. With little light remaining the decision was made to return on Sunday with a salvage team and together free the vessel.

Around midday Sunday our rescue vessel Vigilant arrived with salvage divers. More water was pumped out of the vessel before Vigilant began to tow the vessel clear. However as soon as the vessel cleared the shore the weight of the sand dragged it under. The salvage team attached air bags and continued to pump as much water as possible out of the vessel until she was eventually able to float. Vigilant then towed the vessel to Thomson Bay where the salvage team stayed overnight to shovel out the sand.

On Monday afternoon Vigilant towed the vessel back to Fremantle where it was lifted at North Port Marine Services, Rous Head.

Reliant Assisting the Grounded Vessel

Reliant Assisting the Grounded Vessel


It’s winter. Our downtime… apparently!

July 11th, 2011

Winter provides Fremantle Sea Rescue with an opportunity to carry out much needed maintenance, carry out advanced training and give the crews a break from the hectic summer roster.

Not this winter however. In the past two weeks there have been 5 EPIRB activations and numerous breakdowns, by far our busiest start to winter yet.

Last Saturday 9th July the crew arrived on a chilly morning ready for a quiet day. Which it was until 2pm when a call came in for a 8.5m boat aground somewhere between the Canning and Narrows Bridge, and immediately after they were notified of an 18m boat aground and with rope around its propeller that needed assistance in Mosman Bay. Both R100 and Mariner headed up river to attend.

It was while attending to the second job that an EPIRB activation was detected.  A vessel, with 3 persons on board, west of Garden Island was taking water and just before the vessel overturned the skipper had managed to make a phone call to emergency services giving his position and activated his EPIRB. Two of our vessels – R100 and Gemini 1 – raced to the scene, joining 2 other vessels and a helicopter, and commenced a search, all the time aware that with the light fading finding people in the water would be more difficult after dark.

Capsized in the cold water

Capsized in the cold water

Approximately 45 minutes after the initial call the 3 people were retrieved from the ocean unhurt and transferred to Woodman Point. The capsized vessel was taken in tow by R100 to Northport Boat Lifters in Rous Harbour where our crew worked till 11pm to upright the vessel. This required our crew to spend some time in the cold water to secure lines and activate the pumps.

Whilst some of the EPIRB activations were for mechanical issues, others involved people in the water and undoubtedly the EPIRBS were instrumental in avoiding a tragedy. In each case, where the vessel had capsized the passengers all remained with the vessel allowing rescuers to easily find them.

This level of activity is unusually high for this time of the year prompting us to roster more vessels than we would normally.

The most important message we can give to boat owners to ensure their safety is:


In The Nick of Time

July 10th, 2011

Early last Saturday morning Fremantle Sea Rescue received a distress call from a vessel taking on water fast, in the river.

Fremantle Sea Rescue’s vessel R100 was dispatched at speed, with skippers George Pisani and Bill Young along with crew Brian Jury and Chris Robertson. The team was on scene within minutes and wasted no time in setting up the portable suction pump, whilst standing knee deep in water, in an attempt to save the vessel. It took the team approximately 90 minutes of hard work to get the water out of the sinking vessel and the vessel. The vessel was saved and an emergency lift was arranged at North Port Marine.

Femantle Sea Rescue crew get the water under control just before it was too late.

Femantle Sea Rescue crew get the water under control just before it was too late.


Cold, Dark, Wet & Ready for Action

June 27th, 2011

As the cold sets in and the water gets lumpy, most boaties are at home in front of the heater. Not so for Fremantle Sea Rescue Volunteers, instead we are relishing the opportunity of heavy seas and quieter waterways to ramp up our advanced crew training programs.

It’s been a busy summer with a record 91 vessels assisted in January alone. Now that the weather has turned and many boaties are staying indoors, you might think that we’d be putting our feet up. Instead, we are now well into a program of  intensive mid-week, night-time training exercises to bring up the skill level of our skippers and crew, and give our trainees a greater depth of experience in rescue activities.

So far, our night-time exercises have consisted of searches, navigation including various bays at Rottnest, towing and communications. We have also focused on the use of specialised equipment such as Radio Direction Finders, FLIR thermal imaging camera and advanced use of Radar.

These winter training sessions are vital to our successful and professional operation as a rescue service. Exercises such as these help to ensure that when someone does need us, day or night, rain, hail or storm, we’ll be there and we’ll be  ready.

From towing to navigation, everything is different at night.

From towing to navigation, everything is different at night.


Latest Raffle Results!!

June 8th, 2011

Yes, it really is that time of year again: the results of the 2011 May raffle are out!

And the winners are… (drum-roll)

1st – 31779

2nd – 76735

Both winners have already been notified.

Congratulations to the two people who have won, and good luck for next time to everyone else!

Most of all, thank you everyone for your support!


Sinking Vessel Saved In Front of Cheering Crowd

June 2nd, 2011

Late Sunday afternoon, Fremantle Sea Rescue was called to attend to a sinking vessel just off Bather’s Beach, Fremantle. Rescue vessels R100 and Gemini 1 responded immediately, saving the vessel and its four crew.

Shortly before 5 o’clock the 39ft timber vessel started taking on water in rough conditions whilst heading for Fremantle harbour. Bailing frantically, the crew hailed a nearby vessel for assistance and headed into shore to beach the vessel. The nearby vessel called Sea Rescue by radio to report the situation with rescue vessels R100 and Gemini 1 reacting immediately. Gemini 1, our rapid response vessel, was along side in under four minutes and quickly transferred crew and salvage pumps onto the vessel before taking two of the frightened passengers to safety. In no time our experienced crew brought the situation under control. Our attention then turned to getting the old boat clear of the shore where rough waters were pounding it against the beach. By this stage, the beached vessel and rescue boats had attracted quite a bit of attention from bystanders on shore. When R100 towed the stranded vessel clear of the beach, spectators erupted in a chorus of cheers, clapping and car horns.

The vessel was towed to the nearby North Port Boat Lifters where an emergency lift was arranged and she was pulled from the water to undergo repairs.

Our thanks go to the nearby vessel that gave the call for assistance and to the team at North Port Boat lifters, proud supporters of Fremantle Sea Rescue.

Gemini 1 running along side the vessel under tow

Gemini 1 running along side the vessel under tow


“Midstream” Arrives at Rottnest

April 18th, 2011

An exciting new addition to the Sea Rescue fleet “Midstream” has made its debut at Rotto over the busy Easter break. Thanks to an extremely generous donation by one of our past presidents, boaties on Rotto can feel even safer, with Sea Rescue crew on the island, on standby 24 hours a day.

We are now the very proud owners of a beautiful 60 ft vessel  “Midstream”.  Midstream will be our new Rottnest Support Base with a dedicated mooring  in Thomsons Bay. In the busy Summer period, a skipper and crew will stay on board with a Rescue boat alongside for instant response.

This initiative will ensure that the boating public receive the fastest and most appropriate response, minimising risk to persons, property and the environment. As well as a skipper and crew, It will carry a range of equipment such as additional pumps, some common spare parts, oils and fluids and other equipment that can not be purchased on the island to assist vessels. On board will also be emergency medical equipment such as oxygen, defibrillator and first aid supplies. The equipment and expertise on board will reduce tows related to simple faults such as flat batteries, lack of steering fluid or 2-stroke oil.

Midstream will also be used for major events including the Rottnest Channel Swim where it will be used as an icon and command vessel at the start and finish lines. It will provide a much-needed training platform for our crew, especially for familiarisation of Rottnest waters.

Our volunteer crew have spent countless hours, day and night working on “Midstream” getting her ship shape for its move to Rottnest. We are all extremely proud with how she has scrubbed up and are very happy to see her at her new home in Thomsons Bay.

Our thanks go to Mr Paulo Amaranti, Rottnest Island Authority CEO, Mr Greg Ellson the Acting CEO and Mr Kim Hames in his capacity as Minister for Tourism who have all been very supportive and enthusiastic in our endeavour. Our thanks also go to the generous local businesses that have contributed with discounts and donations of equipment and materials.

So next time you’re on the island, drop by and say hello.

Painted, Stickered and Ready to Go

Painted, Stickered and Ready to Go


Frank Pisani – 25 Years with Fremantle Sea Rescue

April 18th, 2011

This month marks Frank’s 25th year with Fremantle Sea Rescue. Since 1986 Frank has devoted his life to the safety of those at sea and has been instrumental in building our group into the professional service it is today.

Over the years Frank has been instrumental in the development of the Metro Sea Rescue Alliance and the formulation of the service agreement between Sea Rescue and the government. He has aligned the group as a major partner in the Rottnest Channel Swim, as well as many other marine events in our area. Perhaps most importantly, Frank has always pushed for excellence in our crew, our procedures and our vessels. As a volunteer with Fremantle Sea Rescue, it is inspiring to be under the command of someone who believes so strongly in the volunteer ethos and what pure passion and dedication can achieve.

Frank is also the recipient of a number of awards for his work with the group. These include the Paul Harris Fellow award from Rotary and the extremely prestigious Order of Australia Medal.  The Order of Australia Medal (OAM) was established by the Queen in 1975 and is awarded for “Australian citizens for achievement or meritorious service”. Frank was the first person awarded an OAM for Volunteer Sea Rescue.

To mark this occasion at the April monthly meeting, a number of crew dressed up as their own caricatures of Frank as we delved into the archives of photos and news clippings from the past 25 years.

I'll Be Frank. Crew dress up as Frank to mark his 25 years service.

I'll Be Frank. Crew dress up as Frank to mark his 25 years service.


Sea Rescue Superheroes Save Woody & Help Variety

April 18th, 2011

Fremantle Sea Rescue crew have recently returned from the 2011 R Marine Variety Splash, a convoy of 30 Riviera boats to Geographe bay to raise money for the children’s charity Variety. For the 4th year running we provided the safety escort vessel and crew ready to respond to any breakdowns or emergencies.

The boats left Fremantle on a beautiful Thursday, the participants and their boats decked out in their chosen theme. Our vessel Vigilant had the ‘superheros’ on board with Flash at the wheel and Leonardo the Ninja turtle and Captain America as the brave crew. ‘Woody’ the fleet mascot was on the R Marine lead vessel “Bullseye” along with the other Toy Story characters Buzz Lightyear, Jesse, Bo-Peep and the Toy Soldier.

The event was running smoothly until Friday during the raft up at Meelup when tradjety struck. As the crew from R Marine boarded their vessel they realised that “Woody” was missing with only his hat left. They thought he may have fallen overboard, however a more sinister plot soon emerged. A text message was received claiming Woody had been kidnapped and a ransom demanded to be paid at the upcoming auction.

As the auction began, bids for Woody’s release started to roll in. An amazing $2,200.00 was raised and the kidnappers agreed to release Woody. However the sinister thieves then tried to make off with the money and the beloved doll. This is when the superheros sprang into action, hatching a daring and dangerous rescue to snatch Woody from the kidnappers. An urgent radio call was received from the superheros. They had rescued Woody but there had been a scuffle and Woody had been injured. As Vigilant arrived Woody was carried from the boat on a stretcher while concerned Splash participants all tried to help. It looked like Woody wasn’t going to make it. Then in desperation, Bo-Peep gave him “the kiss of life” and before we knew it he was on his feet and remarked “Boy am I glad to see you!”

* Fighting to Save Woody, For Charity

Leonardo Fighting to Save Woody, For Charity


Fremantle Sea Rescue and the Rottnest Channel Swim 2011

March 29th, 2011

4am, dark and on the water, Fremantle Sea Rescue were already out laying buoys for the Rottnest Channel Swim.

It‘s been a year in the making and we’ve been working closely with the Rottnest Channel Swim Association (RCSA) in the preparations for this year’s swim. It was a busy week of meetings, checks to the rescue boats and detailed briefings. Fremantle Sea Rescue were ready and excited to be commanding the ‘on water’ safety along with close partners, the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS).

With an air of excitement the Sea Rescue fleet headed to their positions for the start of the swim. The fleet of eight included the group’s main rescue vessels; R100, Gemini 1, Vigilant, Reliant and Mariner 1. Three of the vessels had RFDS personnel onboard; the fourth had the best compliance officer the event could wish for. We were also backed up with the group’s standby vessels from the other Metropolitan Volunteer Sea Rescue Groups: Whitfords and Cockburn.

Rottnest Channel Swim 2011

Rottnest Channel Swim 2011

Early on in the race we had to deal with a serious risk to safety, when a ship came through the shipping lane. The Sea Rescue vessels created a safe cut-off point, safe-guarding the swimmers from the movement and drag created by the ship.  The ship kindly moved at speed to allow the race to resume.

The 2011 swim was a huge success with only a couple of medical situations.  One patient required a medical transfer from the race site to Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour, where an ambulance waited to speed him to hospital. This was all carried out with the highest level of professionalism and the great working partnership of Sea Rescue and the Flying Doctors.

Fremantle Sea Rescue assisted with a couple of shark sightings on the day. Even though the sharks were relatively small in size, the rescue vessels took no chances and moved in quickly to create safe protection zones for the swim teams.

Towards the end of the swim, the Flying Doctors and ourselves kept a close eye on all swimmers in the water to make sure they were not suffering from any serious signs of exhaustion. The rescue vessels followed the very last swim team to the finish and made sure all teams were safe and sound.

Sea Rescue Crew Come Alongside

The day was a great success and Fremantle Sea Rescue were impressed with all the team’s efforts and the commendable way in which the swim team skippers drove their boats and used their radios.

Fremantle Sea Rescue group found it a pleasure to work alongside other professional organisations including; The Rottnest Channel Swim Association, Royal Flying Doctor Service, Whitfords Sea Rescue and Cockburn Sea Rescue on the day.

Fremantle Sea Rescue are very proud of the dedicated work of all its professionally trained volunteers who did a remarkable amount of work to ensure the day went perfectly.

Author: Phil Scanlan

Swim Finish at Thomson Bay


Rotto raft-up prohibited this year in Parakeet Bay

December 24th, 2010

A recent Notice to Mariners has been issued by the Dept of Transport which announces the closure of the waters in Parakeet Bay (to commercial vessels) on Rottnest Island between midnight on Christmas Day and midnight on Boxing Day. There are a few exceptions to the notice, which means that recreational vessels may enter the bay but may not beach anchor nor anchor within 10 metres of any other vessel.  That means no Parakeet Bay raft-up this year… so it’ll be the Boxing Day Test Match instead then!

Merry Christmas to everyone and safe boating over the holiday period.


November 2010 Raffle Results

November 27th, 2010

Another legendary Sea Rescue raffle has rolled around, and as usual there are three lucky winners.

1st prize: 99437

2nd prize: 89961

3rd prize: 65086

The draw was made on 27th November, all winners will be notified personally.

Thank you for taking part. If you didn’t win this time, there will be another raffle just around the corner!  And remember that the proceeds of the raffle go towards maintaining our fleet and training our volunteers, so thanks again.


Shark Attack At Garden Island

October 31st, 2010

The crew of Fremantle Volunteer Sea Rescue could never have predicted how quickly our latest rapid response medivac vessel would have proved its worth.

Shortly before 1pm on Saturday afternoon Gemini 1 had just returned to dock when a distress radio call was intercepted reporting a shark attack near Garden Island. The call came from a dolphin discovery boat reporting that one of their crew had been attacked and they were heading for the naval base at Garden Island. Gemini 1 left Fremantle at speed taking around 12 minutes to travel over 10NM where the charter boat had moored up at a jetty in Careening Bay. On arrival, vital medical equipment and first aid qualified crew were immediately transferred to the charter vessel. The crew proceeded to assist a paramedic who was on board with bandaging the wounds and administering oxygen.

Gemini 1 tied up alongside the charter vessel

Gemini 1 tied up alongside the charter vessel

The 20 year old female crew had been snorkelling with other passengers when she was attacked by a 2-3 metre shark. A male passenger who was nearby the girl when the shark attacked managed to grab hold of the animal by the tail, causing it to let go. The girl started to sink but was again helped by the man and taken back to the boat.

The girl had bites on both thighs and was in severe pain and shock. She was taken to Royal Perth Hospital by the RAC / FESA rescue helicopter “Rescue 65” where she has undergone surgery and is expected to make a full recovery.

Rescue 65 departs for the hospital

Rescue 65 departs for the hospital

However this wasn’t the only emergency that Gemini 1 was called to attend to that day. Early on Saturday morning whilst assisting with our group’s Rottnest Safety Convoy we were called by an 11 metre vessel drifting toward the rocks near Pier 21. Gemini 1 responded at speed and arrived within 3 minutes, taking the vessel in tow and away from danger.

Gemini 1 is the first 8.6 metre Gemini RIB with fully enclosed cab and has been specially designed for medical emergencies and high speed transit. The vessel is fitted with medical equipment such as an Automated External Defibrillator, medical oxygen and extensive first aid kit. Selected crew who will man the vessel are being trained in advanced first aid.

First on scene - Gemini 1


New Online Store Goes Live

September 22nd, 2010

It’s been a while in the making but Sea Rescue’s online store is now live and ready for orders.

The store front is the quickest and safest place to purchase our marine training courses, Sea Rescue branded clothing, merchandise and the famous Perth Entertainment Book. Members enjoy a 10% discount on all items within the store (including training courses, excluding Entertainment Book) and you have the option to pay securely by Visa/Mastercard, as well as by cheque or direct deposit.

To coincide with the launch of the store are two great new training courses, introduced to meet popular demand: twin engine manouvering and advanced boat handling skills.

More products will be added as the summer draws near, so check out the online store today: click here.


Skill and experience win the day

July 8th, 2010

A recent exercise conducted by Water Police shows that skill and experience are invaluable in saving lives at sea. The exercise was organised to examine new Water Police operators and their SAR (Search and Rescue) protocols: it centred around a missing jet ski between Rottnest and Floreat.

At 6pm last Thursday a member of the public spotted a parachute flare and reported it directly to Fremantle Sea Rescue HQ. As usual we immediately relayed the information to Water Police, however as this flare was related to the exercise we were asked to wait until called before joining the search.

Two police vessels and a Department of Transport vessel all set off at speed to start the search. It was over 45 minutes before Sea Rescue was asked to assist, by which time a Dornier search aircraft had also joined the search. We dispatched our primary vessel R100, custom built for just this scenario.

In addition to the commander and senior skipper, three trainee skippers were also on board our vessel. They operated the Radar, FLIR (Forward-Looking-Infra-Red) and search lights. As R100 approached the search area all radar contacts were investigated (there were a lot of seagulls out that night!) and confirmed by FLIR.

Infra-red (FLIR) in action on R100

Infra-red (FLIR) in action on R100

At one point several contacts were detected off our initial course, in an area that had been covered by the agency vessels. The skipper decided to investigate anyway and as R100 approached the first contact the FLIR confirmed it was not a seagull but a small object on the surface. The spotlights then lit up a mannequin in police uniform and wearing a lifejacket. This was confirmed as part of the exercise, but what about the jet ski? Again utilising her high performance radar R100 located two more contacts within .5nm of the mannequin. The first turned out to be a Tactical Response Group (observers), the second was the missing jet ski with one person on board. Other search vessels had previously passed within 100 metres of both mannequin and jet ski.

Exercise over.

From leaving the pen and locating the jet ski, approximately 7nm from Challenger Harbour, 29 minutes had elapsed. Fortunately it was only an exercise otherwise the delay in immediately calling out the most appropriate resource could have resulted in a tragedy.

Fremantle together with Cockburn and Whitfords Volunteer Sea Rescue Groups (all part of Metropolitan Volunteer Sea Rescue) have a service agreement with the government, through FESA, as ‘First Responders’ in the Metropolitan area. The three between them respond to around 65% of the states rescues.

The three groups have developed common customised training and bought common specialised equipment with one goal in mind, to save lives. We believe that it is imperative that the Sea Rescue Groups are notified immediately of potential risk to life to ensure the most efficient and appropriate response.

A cold surf-lifesaver, glad to see R100 arrive

A cold surf-lifesaver, glad to see R100 arrive


Raffle results!!!

May 30th, 2010

It’s that time of year again, eagerly awaited by all of Perth: the results of the May raffle.

Both winners have already been notified.
Congratulations to the two people who have won, and good luck for next time to everyone else!


Pre-order an Entertainment Book today!

March 5th, 2010

Fremantle Sea Rescue is pleased to once again be offering for sale the Perth 2010 – 2011 Entertainment Book. The book is full of vouchers for serious discounts in shops, bars, restaurants and activities all over Perth. Buying one can save you a lot of money.

As usual you can order and pay securely online and enjoy the convenience of home delivery (for $7) or collect from one of our many pick up points around the Perth Metro Area.

Fremantle Sea Rescue receives a portion of the sale from each book, so please buy through us and tell your friends and family.

To buy an Entertainment Book today, just click here.

[Please note that the 2010/2011 Entertainment Books are available to collect/be delivered from 17th June. The books are then valid from the end of June onwards.]

The new Entertainment Book

The new Entertainment Book


All saved after serious offshore fire

March 2nd, 2010

Fremantle Sea Rescue’s entire fleet was quickly mobilised on Sunday afternoon (1st March) to attend a serious boat blaze about 4 miles out from Fremantle.

Our primary vessel – R100 – was first on scene with fire-fighting equipment, and was closely followed by Reliant and Vigilant, who also carry fire pumps and hoses. Rescue vessel Mariner was also in attendance as a medical support boat should it have been required. The fire was brought under control and the stricken vessel towed to Rous Head Harbour for other fire crews to make their assessments.

Our volunteers and skippers train every weekend in fire-fighting techniques, as well as a host of other marine rescue skills, and this incident shows what a valuable role the volunteer fleet plays in protecting life in our waters. You can always expect a fast and professional response from Fremantle Sea Rescue, which is why we are designated by the WA government as first responder to marine emergencies in this area.

Fremantle Sea Rescue is self-funded, voluntary and independent. We rely on donations to be able to provide our services. Please consider joining us for $35/year, or make a donation today.

[Aerial picture courtesy of Channel Ten News]

R100 tackles a blazing boat off Fremantle.

R100 tackles a blazing boat off Fremantle.


The luck of the Irish

March 2nd, 2010

One of the busiest days for boating in the year 20th Feb was the day of the annual Rottnest Channel Swim. Five Irish lads got a little more swimming that day than they bargained for.

For those who weren’t out at sea on the day, what started as a relatively calm day ended with our usual sea breeze and afternoon chop. The guys had already competed in the swim and were on their way home. For whatever reason the boat that they had used as an escort for the swim rolled over about a third of the way between Rottnest and Perth.

In the sea conditions the chances of being seen would normally have been very slim. Here is where the Luck of the Irish comes in. Not only were they found within two minutes of flipping over but the boat that found them was in fact “Mariner 1” one of our Sea Rescue vessels.

A quick radio call had R100 – our prime rescue craft – at the scene within minutes. Fortunately all of the people in the water were fine even though one was a non swimmer without a lifejacket.

The survivors were whisked back to Fremantle on board the rescue vessel Mariner where they were collected by a relieved but somewhat disbelieving family. This left our fine constabulary the unenviable job, which would normally have been done by R100, of towing the upturned boat back to Fremantle and thus removing a navigation hazard.

As a cautionary note if you have non swimmers on board then they should always wear a life jacket.


Rapid Support Gemini RIB due this season

February 1st, 2010

Fremantle Sea Rescue is pleased to announce there will be a new addition to the rescue fleet by the end of this summer’s boating season.

The vessel will be an 8.5m Gemini Rigid-Inflatable Boat (RIB) which is currently being supplied and built by our friends at Jet Torque Marine. Jet Torque are also significantly part sponsoring this valuable asset and we are very grateful for their contribution.

The Gemini RIB has been chosen after careful consideration as we believe them to be the most suitable platform for fast response sea rescue operations. They are world renowned for the safety, longevity and have consistently proven themselves in a range of demanding commercial and military applications.

While RIBs generally have only limited capacity for recovering and towing large stricken vessels, they are perfectly suited to the role of fast medical response, namely getting medically trained crew and equipment to the scene of an accident quickly, and in all seas. Our RIB will have a custom designed cabin large enough to completely shelter an adult stretcher from all elements, and from its base in Fremantle will be perfectly positioned to deal with emergencies in our area of operation, including all of Rottnest Island.

The RIB will also have an extended role by acting in support of our larger vessels: for crew transfers, resupply, as well as marshalling of ocean events and skipper training. This addition to our fleet consolidates what is already the Perth Metro Area’s most comprehensive Sea Rescue service and will no doubt contribute to saving many lives in the coming years.


Raffle Results!

December 24th, 2009

Raffle results! 30th November 2009

Congratulations to the following ticket number holders:

1st prize: ticket number 79119

2nd prize: ticket number 86564

3rd prize: ticket number 85551

All of the winners have been notified.


New West Cardinal Marker at Fish Rocks

December 14th, 2009

Sea Rescue received an email from the Department of Transport this morning, stating that a new lit west cardinal marker has just been successfully installed adjacent to Fish Rocks, off South Fremantle.

Full details will appear in the next Notice to Mariners, in the meantime you can find the marker at Lat 31.05.2′ South Long 115.43.9′E.

Fremantle Sea Rescue welcomes this addition to the area’s navigation aids: Fish Rocks is known as contentious navigation ‘black spot’ and this is a step in the right direction in reducing the number of vessels that have difficulty or come to grief in the area.


Club Marine and the Rings of Life

October 29th, 2009

At the last couple of boat shows you might have seen Fremantle Sea Rescue handing out orange life-rings in return for gold coin donations. We would like to thank Club Marine for this initiative: they provided the rings at their cost with all proceeds going towards funding for our Sea Rescue group. The amount raised ran to a very useful several thousand dollars, the life-rings being an absolute hit with the kids, and our volunteers only just able to inflate them fast enough to keep up with the demand.

Phil Scanlan here demonstrates how to put them on, although Sea Rescue would like to point out that these are no substitute for a PFD 1, in much the same way your cigarette lighter is no replacement for a red hand-held flare.

Thanks again to Club Marine and all those who exchanged coins for novelty rubber toys.

Orange and fun, but not likely to keep you afloat

Orange and fun, but not likely to keep you afloat


Hoax mayday call

October 19th, 2009

Fremantle Sea Rescue are very disappointed to learn that Saturday’s Mayday call was a hoax. We are also pleased that the hoaxer has been caught.

The search effort is estimated to have cost approximately $50,000 and wasted the time of many volunteers and police. We mirror the sentiment expressed by a police sergeant: “…people who have the mental aptitude of a walnut who think it’s funny watching helicopters chase their tail when they could be doing other things.”

Fremantle Sea Rescue would hope that, if found guilty, the man would be prosecuted to the full extent of the law and be ordered to repay all costs. The maximum two year jail sentence might also be a suitable deterrent to other would-be hoaxers. Less than two years ago, two men from Dampier were fined $88,000 for making a similar hoax distress call.


Recording of Sea Dolphin’s Mayday call

October 18th, 2009

You can hear last night’s Mayday call which prompted the major search for Sea Dolphin II by clicking the link below to The West’s website. The vessel has not been found and police are still trying to get more details. If you have any information you should contact Fremantle Sea Rescue or the Water Police.

Mayday recording between Sea Dolphin II and Coast Radio Perth


Search suspended for Sea Dolphin II

October 18th, 2009

Sunday 18th October. 3pm. Fremantle Sea Rescue’s vessels are currently returning to Fremantle following the suspension of last night’s sea search and rescue search effort.

The alert was raised at approximately 10pm on Saturday night after Sea Rescue groups and Water Police heard a Mayday call for assistance on VHF channel 16. Two of Fremantle Sea Rescue’s vessels were already engaged in non-emergency towing roles, assisting two boats from Rottnest to Fishing Boat Harbour. The Mayday call was given priority with our vessels being instantly dispatched to the Mayday site, given at 40 nautical miles north of Rottnest.

In total, three of Fremantle’s boats – R100, Vigilant, Reliant – attended the area to assist in the search. There were also two boats from Whitford’s Sea Rescue, one from Two Rock’s Sea Rescue, police boats TW152 and Falcon, as well as rescue helicopter Rescue 65 (see article below). The volunteers and police searched continuously through the night until a crew change at 6am on Sunday. Fremantle’s boats returned to Fremantle at approximately 3pm Sunday after the search was suspended.

This huge effort has involved approximately 50 skippers and crew and used most of the Sea Rescue resources available in the Perth area. No vessel or debris has been found.


Current rescue. Mayday call

October 17th, 2009

All of Fremantle Sea Rescues vessels are currently attending a mayday call forty miles north of Rottnest. Water Police and other Sea Rescue groups are also in attendance.


Press Release: Mayday call north of Garden Island

October 16th, 2009

This afternoon Fremantle Sea Rescue answered a Mayday call from a vessel located just north of Garden Island, approximately 7.5 nautical miles south west of North Mole, Fremantle.

The vessel’s engine had caught fire, however one of the crew was able to isolate the fuel supply and cut the engine. It is believed that the fire then extinguished itself.

Fremantle Sea Rescue’s primary rescue vessel, R100, was dispatched within 5 minutes of hearing the call and arrived on scene soon afterwards. The crew on board the stricken vessel did not require medical attention, although one had experienced very minor burns to one arm. Fremantle Sea Rescue recovered the vessel and crew safely to Fishing Boat Harbour, Fremantle.

Fremantle Sea Rescue maintains a fleet of rescue boats which are purpose built and equipped to deal with such incidents. If you require any assistance at sea, your first call should always be to Sea Rescue.

Fremantle Sea Rescue is a self funded voluntary organisation that is available to assist you 24 hours a day. If you would like to make a donation please see the donate page of our website.

Vessel recovered from Mayday call

Vessel recovered from Mayday call


Upgraded navigation markers on the Swan River

October 13th, 2009

An upgrade of some navigation markers on the Swan River has recently been completed at a cost of approximately $51,000. The improvements have been made to the lighting of markers in Rocky Bay and in Perth Water, with the emphasis seeming to be on synchronisation of lighting.

The new lighting in the Rocky Bay area does appear to be a good improvement, with it now being easier to spot the route when travelling downstream and also in identifying the turn for the short track. I haven’t yet seen the new lights at Perth Water.

Fremantle Sea Rescue welcomes the improvements to navigation and safety on the Swan River, although notes that there remains a number of unlit key markers on the Swan River. It is hoped that the improvements will be ongoing and extended before the summer season to other known hazards, such as Fish Rocks off South Fremantle.


Helicopter Training

October 7th, 2009

This morning a crew from Fremantle Sea Rescue undertook a training exercise with RAC rescue helicopter ‘Rescue 65′. The rescue  helicopter and boat crews practised various drills, including recovering a person from the sea and transferring between moving vessel and aircraft.  The training exercise was a great success: the precision of the skipper’s and pilot’s ability being evident when the helicopter and vessel moved along in extremely close proximity.

Pilot comes in close

Pilot draws close, in a sparkling clean helicopter.

Careful transfer of crew from aircraft to boat.

Careful transfer of crew from aircraft to boat.

Wet, and very windy beneath the rotor blades

Wet, and very windy beneath the rotor blades

Rescue 65


Aground at Pelican Point

October 7th, 2009

Monday 5th October.

Fremantle Sea Rescue were able to successfully recover an 11 metre vessel that had run aground at Pelican Point, just outside Royal Perth Yacht Club. It was one of the only rescues in the Group’s recent history that spanned over two days: the initial attempt on Sunday being unsuccessful due to the extreme shallowness of the water where the vessel had come to rest.

The successful recovery on Monday morning involved two vessels. Our primary vessel, R100, positioned herself in the deep water of the navigation channel while the support vessel, Mariner 1 was utilised to take the tow ropes in approximately 500 metres: one of the longest tows possible. When the lines were connected R100 was easily able to free the stricken vessel from the sand bank, recover her to deep water and escort her safely back to Fremantle. In total, the two day rescue effort involved three vessels and ten crew members.

The vessel had suffered the usual damage associated with running aground at speed.

The incident provided invaluable training to our crew, especially trainee  skippers.

Fremantle Sea Rescue would like to remind all boaters that the navigation markers in some stretches of the Swan River, mark points of extreme shallowness, often dry at low tide.

Fremantle Sea Rescue is a self funded voluntary organisation that is available to assist you 24 hours a day. If you would like to make a donation please see the donate page of our website.


Friday out-of-hours rescues

October 3rd, 2009

Fremantle Sea Rescue yesterday recovered three stricken vessels to safety in one of the first busy weekdays of the boating season.

Three rescue vessels (R100, Reliant and Mariner 1) were dispatched to assist boats in Nedlands (steering failure), Bicton (aground) and 5 miles past the West End of Rottnest (engine failure). All boats were recovered successfully and in a timely manner; our response time to all incidents was within 5 minutes.

We would like to thank the owner of the vessel recovered to Matilda Bay for a generous donation after his rescue. Fremantle Sea Rescue is a self-funded voluntary organisation which relies on the generosity of the public to provide our services. If you would like to make a donation today please visit the donate page of our website.


New Swan River Speed Restriction

September 19th, 2009

A new speed restriction is in force on the Swan River from south of the Swan Brewery and up to the Narrows Bridge. General rule is to slow down to 6 knots and create no wake. Full details can be found at this DPI media statement. The restriction is expected to be in force until April 2010.

The image below is from the DPI’s website and can be found in full at this link: Speed Restriction PDF

New Swan River Speed Restriction

New Swan River Speed Restriction


Night Rescue – 14th September

September 14th, 2009

Fremantle Sea Rescue was called to assist a stricken boat in the waters off South Fremantle at 03.30 Monday morning (14th Sept).  The vessel had suffered a mechanical failure and was recovered safely – along with all three crew – to Fishing Boat Harbour, Fremantle. Our response time to the incident was approximately 10 minutes.

Fremantle Sea Rescue would like to remind boaters of the importance of wearing lifejackets, particularly at night, on open boats and in semi-rough conditions as experienced this morning.

Fremantle Sea Rescue is on stand-by 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


Induction night for new volunteers on Tuesday 25th August

August 24th, 2009

There will be an induction night for new volunteers tomorrow night; Tuesday 25th August at 6.30pm.  It is an opportunity for people interested in volunteering to come down and meet some of the skippers and crew, find out what your role would be, and also have some food, drinks and a tour of the rescue boats.

It is an informal evening, just come as you are and ask for Mike Meehan when you arrive: he is the new members officer.  The induction nights are only held once every three months, so this is the last one until summer.  The meeting is at our HQ, at the very end of Mews Road, past Fishing Boat Harbour, Fremantle.