The Marine Rescue NSW boat based at Cronulla is out of action after vital safety gear was stolen over the weekend.
The boat is stationed at Hungry Point wharf to respond to emergencies on Port Hacking, Bate Bay, Botany Bay and offshore.
Botany Port Hacking Unit Commander Frank Robards said the crew arrived on Sunday morning to find three young men in the crew room next to the wharf.
“They ran as soon as the crew unlocked the door and walked in,” he said.
“As they fled they dropped a bottle of vodka.”
The wharf and grounds are a restricted area, with no public access and monitored by security cameras.
Security camera footage shows the trio walking down the path to the wharf about 6:30am followed by another two men.
Mr Robards said the video shows two of the men unbuttoning a cover on the boat.
“We found that seven safety flares and three fire extinguishers had been stolen,” he said.
“Our volunteers give their time to serve their community. They deserve thanks, not to be subject to theft by thoughtless idiots.”
He said the boat can’t respond to emergencies for the time being.
“It’s off duty until I can replace the mandatory safety equipment,’’ he said.
In the meantime the unit’s Botany Bay vessel will respond to emergencies.
Anyone with information on the theft should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.