Marlin disables vessel off South Coast

February 21, 2023 6:13 am in by

Marine Rescue NSW boat, Merimbula 30, has completed a three-and-a-half-hour mission after a marlin slammed into the engine of a private fishing vessel more 32 kilometres off Tura Head on the NSW South Coast.

The skipper of the 6.7 metre fishing boat said they were trawling and hooked up a black marlin just before 1pm Sunday (February 19).

“We were fighting it and it did a U-turn and slammed into the engine,” the skipper said.

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“It happened so quick,” he said.

The marlin hit the engine, punching a hole in its canvas cover and cowling, disabling the vessel’s power.

“It was a freaky thing,” the skipper said.

“We had to cut the line,” he said.

“The marlin would have been around 70 kilograms.”

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The skipper called Marine Rescue Merimbula to request a tow to Tathra.

Marine Rescue Merimbula Unit Commander, Bill Blakeman, and fellow volunteers Stewart Dietrich and Bob Ainsworth, were tasked to crew ‘MB 30’ and took one hour to reach the stranded vessel.

“It was an unusual rescue,” Blakeman said.

In Blakeman’s 15 years of volunteer service on the water, he’s never responded to an incident involving a marlin damaging a vessel.

“I’ve had a couple of shark related incidents over the years where they attacked propellers, but never a marlin disabling a vessel,” Blakeman said.

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Because of the distance involved, MB 30 took two hours to tow the damaged vessel back to Kianinny boat ramp at 10 knots, using just over 50 litres of fuel an hour.

Blakeman praised the Marine Rescue NSW crew and Anita Ormandy, Bernie Ryan and Sonia Teston in radio operations.

“It was a good experience for our new trainee at the radio base,” Blakeman said.

“She’s about to take her assessment as a Radio Operator this weekend, this rescue will put her in good stead,” Blakeman said.

The skipper of the damaged vessel said he will be making a donation to Marine Rescue NSW today.

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“I am very thankful for the assistance Marine Rescue provided,” he said.

To make a donation to Marine Rescue NSW or for more information about volunteering go to

Images: Marine Rescue NSW


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