THEIR job is to keep boaties safe and aid those in trouble.
Lake Macquarie's water warriors - volunteer marine rescuers - help all types of vessels from tinnies to yachts.
When trouble strikes, the group has boaties' backs.
Marine Rescue Lake Macquarie unit commander John Hatton urged anyone in difficulty on the water to contact the organisation as early as possible.
"Our job is to look after them and keep them safe," Mr Hatton said.
The organisation covers the lake and offshore.
Volunteer rescuers have operated in the area's waters since World War II, helping tens of thousands of boaties.
In the past year alone, Marine Rescue Lake Macquarie has received nearly 30,000 radio calls and helped several hundred vessels worth a combined $15 million.
Deputy unit commander Roger Evans said it was a misconception that the organisation was a law-enforcement agency.
"We're here to help boaties," Mr Evans said.
Much of its work involved towing broken-down vessels, but search and rescue was occasionally required.
Its key safety messages were for boaties to wear lifejackets and for "visible lights" to be "all around vessels" at night.
Mr Hatton said the organisation had to raise $120,000 a year to pay its bills.
"We spend $50,000 a year on fuel alone," he said.
Sausage sizzles, raffles and memberships help raise cash.
Shortly before Christmas, the organisation rescued two men from Moon Island, off Swansea Heads, after their boat overturned and sank in the vicinity of Swansea bar.
In the past year five boats overturned at the bar, which can be treacherous when a strong outgoing tide, combined with north-easterly winds, creates high waves.
Mr Evans said the lake's shallow sections were also dangerous.
Rescue skipper Bob Diamond recalled going 33 kilometres offshore on a dark and stormy night to tow a 52-foot marlin fishing boat with contaminated fuel.
"You couldn't see 10 metres in front of you, only when the lightning flashed," Mr Diamond said.
It took seven hours to tow the boat ashore.
On another occasion, two men dropped their wives onto a sand island in Swansea Channel and forgot about them.
"Imagine what the husbands copped when they got home," Mr Diamond said.
The organisation operates around the clock, with an on-call crew at night.