About Coast Watch


Coast Watch is a volunteer Marine Search and Rescue (MSAR) organisation based in Ocean Grove, Victoria.

We cover an area that extends from Point Lonsdale, along the coast to Ocean Grove and Barwon Heads then as far west as Torquay, and up to 30 nautical miles (55 km) out to sea. These locations are popular with professional and recreational fishermen, divers, surfers and other water users, and include the Barwon River and the notorious bar crossing at its mouth.

Calls for assistance can come from many sources and our services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Our members are all trained volunteers who share a love of the ocean and a desire to serve their community in an area where they have extensive knowledge, skills and experience. In the event of a callout, members respond to a SMS message on their mobile phones and a crew is assembled from those available. Our headquarters is close to the Ocean Grove boat ramp, which means that we can be on the water very quickly when needed.

Like all MSAR organisations around Australia, we are governed by national legislation administered by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA). Transport Safety Victoria (TSV) administers this legislation within Victoria on behalf of AMSA. Emergency Management Victoria (EMV) houses the MSAR Office and provides the overall strategy, direction, performance management and reporting structures for the marine search and rescue sector.

At an operational level, the Victorian Water Police Squad and Rescue Coordination Centre (the Water Police) manages the response and coordination of all marine search and rescue operations in Victoria, and calls on volunteer organisations such as Coast Watch to provide additional resources at a local level.

If you encounter difficulties at sea such as personal injury, engine failure, fire, capsize, man overboard, damage to your vessel or run out of fuel, call 000 and ask for the Police. They will take your details and deploy the closest available resources to come to your assistance.

Our rescue vessel is a Gemini 730 Interceptor rigid inflatable boat (RIB) call sign CW01, powered by twin 150 hp Yamaha four stroke outboard motors. It is equipped with high quality electronic instruments including GPS navigation, a forward looking infrared (FLIR) camera and various marine radios, and it is well suited to the shallow waters of the Barwon estuary and up to 30 nautical miles (55 km) out to sea. However, most of our calls for assistance come from recreational boaters who generally operate much closer to shore.