NEWS – NSW plans to introduce Rescue Levy


The NSW Government is proposing an initiative to support Marine Rescue NSW by adding a $7.50 levy to annual boat licences and registrations. 

Under the scheme boat licences jump from $43 to $50.50 and registrations on a typical 5.5m runabout increase from $92 to $99.50, while the Rescue Levy is set at $3 for concession holders. If accepted, the levy would commence in July 2010.

NSW Minister for Ports and Waterways, Paul McLeay and Minister for Emergency Services, Steve Whan said Marine Rescue NSW provides a valuable service to the boating community and should be supported.

The proposal would see a $7.50 Marine Rescue levy on boating fees to provide sustainable financial support to the volunteer service, a non-government organisation with more than 2300 members statewide.

McLeay said over a year, across the state, Marine Rescue NSW units assist more than 2500 people in trouble. “Marine Rescue NSW is full of committed volunteers, many of whom are local heroes for the work they do keeping our coastal waters safe,” he said.

Whan gave examples of the rescue of a family at Brunswick Heads who had lost steerage of their yacht and were battling 3m seas and 30-knot winds.

“There are many more examples of bravery and community service; volunteers regularly head out in tough conditions to help those in need,” said Whan.

“However, it is not just a service for recreational boaters. Wooli volunteers rescued a local fisherman whose boat had overturned and was sinking in rough seas. Sometimes even the most experienced boaters can come into trouble on the water and that is why Marine Rescue NSW is there,” he said.

Marine Rescue NSW supports and conducts search and rescue operations. They provide marine VHF radio monitoring along the coast, as well as assist with water traffic control in major aquatic events. They also carry out key boating training and education for their local communities.

McLeay said if boating continues to grow at the current rate, boater numbers will double to around 900,000 in the next 25 years.

“To make sure we plan for this growth we need to secure the financial future of Marine Rescue NSW now and this is an opportunity to do so.

“The proposal would provide better rescue, educational and training services to the boating community,” Mr McLeay said.

If accepted by Government, the rescue levy would see:

* A roll out of 98 new rescue vessels along the coast over the next 6 years.

* The establishment of a border-to-border VHF radio monitoring network and seamless trip monitoring as vessels travelled along the coast.

* The $7.50 levy add another $5 million to the $1.4 million in annual funding already provided by Government, a total of around $6.4 million a year.

* All funds raised go direct to Marine Rescue NSW.

* Annual accountability for all funds spent.

A discussion paper on the Rescue Levy proprosal is available from the NSW Maritime website by phoning Info Line 13 12 56, and from local NSW Maritime offices.

Submissions can be made online at, by email:, or by writing to NSW Maritime, Locked Bag 5100, Camperdown, NSW, 1450

The closing date for submissions is Friday, June 18.

Photo: Marine Rescue NSW volunteers.