Fremantle Sea Rescue – The Fleet and More!

By Jean Hudson @jeansodyssey

Fremantle Volunteer Sea Rescue recently held their open day at Royal Perth Yacht Club annexe on Mews Road, Fremantle. Just past Kailis’ at Fishing Boat Harbour, but technically in Challenger Harbour.

It’s hard to believe it’s five years ago we brought this great article on Fremantle Sea Rescue, or FSR, to our readers. So what changed?

FSR now has a fleet of four purpose built rescue vessels and two jet skis. The public had the opportunity to step onboard the rescue vessels and learn about the latest in search and rescue equipment and technologies at the open day. There were also demonstrations on the correct use of marine flares.

FSR has been assisting boats and the water-using public for over 47 years and is part of Volunteer Marine Rescue WA and gazetted by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services.

FSR is one of Australia’s busiest Sea Rescue Groups and a registered charity protecting life at sea. They are in charge of the waters between South Fremantle up to City Beach, as well as the Swan and Canning Rivers, Rottnest Island and approximately 50 nautical miles out to sea.

A fabulous group of 115 volunteers regularly dedicate their time to provide round the clock vessel assistance, radio coverage, education and safety awareness to Perth’s’ boaties and the water-bound public.

Every minute of every day volunteers man radios, and boat crews are on stand by or on patrol. The Rescue Operations Centre on Cantonment Hill is home to the More & Meehan Radio Room, with some of the most advanced facilities of its kind in Australia.

Meet the fleet

Rescue 100 is the flagship vessel – a 10 metre long catamaran with a 4-metre beam. She is powered by two 400-horsepower motors and has a top speed of 34knots and a cruise speed of 22knots. She is fitted out with top of the range electronics and communication devices.

Resolute & sister vessel RoVer2 are identical in fit out. They are 9 metre long catamarans with a beam of 3 metres. Their twin 300- horsepower motors can reach speeds of 38knots with a cruise speed of 25knots.

Both vessels boast state of the art equipment, to ensure they are prepared for a variety of Search and Rescue missions. This equipment includes a vast array of navigational electronics, radio direction finder, HD thermal night vision camera and shock mitigating seating for crew safety.

Gemini 1 is a Monohull RHIB (Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat) and powered by twin 300 horsepower outboard engines. She is capable of reaching speeds over 50knots. The enclosed cabin has four shock mitigating seats that keep the crew safe and dry. Gemini 1 is especially suited to rapid response situations such as medical evacuations, when time is critical. Her smaller size allows her to fit underneath more bridges and travel further up the Swan River than the larger catamarans.

Jet skis. The two jet skis have inboard engines and are used close to shore and on the river.

During COVID years, more and more people bought new toys, including boats. 2021 was the busiest year to date for Fremantle Sea Rescue with 471 call outs across 19,946 hours on shift and 1,482 people assisted.

Running out of fuel, breakdowns and skippers lack of knowledge and experience were the commonest problems. On busy summer days, there can be 10 to 12 rescues.

With the weather warming up – boaties, please remember to complete safety checks on personal floatation devices, EPIRBs, radios and flares; have engines serviced and register your boat with Fremantle Sea Rescue.

Log on with FSR when you are heading out on the water – it’s free to do and is the cheapest life insurance you’ll find. And don’t forget to check the weather!

Thank you to these brave women and men who sometimes put their own lives at risk to keep us safe on the water.

* Story and photographs by Jean Hudson @jeansodyssey. Jean is a regular feature writer and photographer here on the Shipping News. Discover more of her informative Places I Love stories as well as other feature stories and Freo Today photographs, right here.

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