Local skippers and visiting boaties are following safety rules in Port Macquarie, despite numerous boating-related coastal drownings across NSW.

Marine Rescue Port Macquarie are seeing increased numbers of boats on the water, as skippers take advantage of time off work due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to unit commander Greg Davies.

“From the start of the year we have made 38 rescues, down from about 60 rescues which is what we usually do each year,” he said. “This is a good thing because the boating community is putting safety first, logging on and we are keeping them safe. Most rescues have been fuel or maintenance problems and there was only one boat which sunk off Lighthouse Beach earlier this year. Most of the rescues are of people who have left their boat in storage for a few months or years, unserviced. We are seeing a lot more people going out and we are averaging about 20 boats out each day. In good weather the carparks are full as boats head out to the river or at sea. In NSW there have been a lot of fatalities in the community and this could be because more people are using their time fishing while having time off work.”

Marine Rescue recorded around 50 boats taking to the water on Saturday, July 11 and 70 on Sunday, July 12. There were only two rescues over that weekend.

The unit has also received an influx of new trainees with 42 currently undertaking training.