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Maritime Rescue

The Westpac Rescue Helicopter is often dispatched to aid those who find themselves in trouble on the water - whether that be recreational sailors or powerboat users, anglers or professional fishermen.

Tasmania’s vast coastline can experience rapidly changing weather conditions, so it’s vital that anyone venturing out on the water be safety-conscious.

Here are our top tips:

  • Check the weather forecasts to make sure you won’t be caught out in inclement weather;
  • Tell someone of your plans, your destination and expected time of return;
  • Ensure your vessel is seaworthy and is equipped with lifejackets, navigation maps and/ or GPS;
  • Always carry an EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) to activate in case of emergency, and register your EPIRB so rescue services have vital information about you, your craft and your emergency contacts.

If you get into life-threatening trouble on the water and you cannot reach emergency services by phone or radio, then activate your EPIRB.

The international search and rescue satellite system, Cospas-Sarsat, listens for distress signals and when it hears one it notifies the nearest ground station.

The Canberra-based Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) will determine what response is required - usually a helicopter or fixed wing aircraft will be launched to locate the source of the signal.

Depending on the situation, the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service may then be used to rescue those in trouble.

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