Since the early 1970s the local boating community have been looked after by volunteers from Port Macquarie Marine Rescue and before that, Port Macquarie Sea Rescue.
Dedicated volunteers ensure thousands of yachts, boats, jetskis and their crews, safely navigate the waters around the Hastings each year as well as respond to emergencies out on the water.
For the last 25 years the volunteers have also run the PM Supporters Group which gives the local boating community extra security that if something was to happen, Marine Rescue would come looking.
Geoff Shelton a founding member of the supporters group said the idea of the club was to give added security for those locals who take their boat out.
“When a member of the public logs on with Marine Rescue we take details about the boat, crew, location and estimated time back but we don’t check in with them unless they haven’t logged off at the time they said,” Mr Shelton said.
“For the most part that might be okay but if something was to happen out at sea it could be hours before anyone knows to come searching for the crew or vessel.
“However, if you are a member of the PM Supporters Group and have logged on with us, we check in at 9am, 12 midday, 3pm and 6pm.
“It is usually a simple conversation and if nothing has changed that is fine but if one of our members misses a scheduled check in we can use it as a training exercise to go and see if they are okay.”
Mr Shelton said the extra safety precautions have saved lives and signing up in a simple process.
“A few years ago one of our members missed their check in and their boat had actually capsized so in that instance we did save the lives of that crew,” he said.
“We certainly don’t hassle our PM members but if something did go wrong out there it is a big ocean to go searching for a little boat, so the more information we have first up the better our chances are of finding you.
“If someone misses a regular check in, we give their contact number a ring, if we get no response we check where they launched from to see if their car is still there, and if it is, within 15 minutes we have launched our vessel to see if we can find them.”
The supporters group in Port Macquarie was the first of its kind in the state and has since be replicated at Marine Rescue bases right across NSW.
“It was groundbreaking when we first came up with the idea and has since be adopted by bases all over the state.”
Port Macquarie unit commander, Greg Davies said the group were hosting a PM Supporters night information session and thank you event at the Westport Club on October 26 from 6pm.
“We know the PM Supporter Group has saved lives but we also know we couldn’t do what we do without the support of the boating community,” Mr Davies said.
“So the night is a way to say thank you and touch base with the members of our supporters group.
“We host this event every year but this year it is more about us giving back to our members and saying thank you.
“On the night we will be giving away more than $6000 to PM Supporters Club members and is a chance for them to renew their membership for another year.”
To sign up to the PM Supporters Group it costs $40 for a year and can be done online,at the Marine Rescue Radio Base at Town Beach where they have paywave and on the night.