by Ken McManus
It was a sunny Sunday morning, when a routine exercise between Marine Rescue Port Jackson and Middle Harbour units became a real life emergency rescue.
Job Done - Marine Rescue NSW volunteers at Balmoral Naval Base
A crew member noticed a large 71ft Princess Motor Yacht travelling at high speed and waving down the rescue vessel for assistance. As the cruiser came alongside Marine Rescue crew were informed that one of their passengers had suffered what appeared to be a heart attack. Senior First Aiders with an AED (Automatic External Defibrillator) were immediately transferred from Port Jackson PJ 22 and Middle Harbour MH 40 to the Princess. This vessel was instructed to head quickly to the Balmoral Naval base where ambulance access would not be hampered by large crowds enjoying the day at the nearest alternative public wharf.
Quick-thinking family on board the Princess had already commenced CPR several minutes before the Marine Rescue NSW First Aid team came to assist. The AED was attached by the First Aiders while CPR continued. Simultaneously Marine Rescue crew co-ordinated an emergency call to NSW Ambulance and arranged access to the Naval base wharf.
The life saving shock was administered by the AED and the casualty quickly showed signs of life with a very weak pulse and gasp for breath.
Oxygen therapy was administered, the casualty was placed in the recovery position and monitored by the Marine Rescue First Aiders. Ambulance crew arrived very soon after and the patient, whose pulse had strengthened, was transferred by ambulance officers and Marine Rescue crew.
The casualty was rushed to hospital for immediate surgery and anxious family and friends thanked all involved for their professional efforts. Marine Rescue NSW has since been advised that he is recovering well.
Today’s event highlights the importance of teamwork and the extensive training our volunteer members undergo to support our local boating community. The professional, coordinated efforts of Marine Rescue NSW, Navy and NSW Ambulance Service personnel ensured that this near tragedy was averted.
The event also highlighted the lifesaving importance of the Automatic External Defibrillators that are now standard equipment on all new Marine Rescue vessels and part of a continuing program of retro-fitting to almost 70 existing vessels at all Marine Rescue bases in NSW.
The unit used in today’s rescue has already saved two other lives in similar emergencies in the past twelve months - more than adequate justification for the $4,000 cost of each unit.
Marine Rescue NSW website