by Ken McManus
New Marine Rescue NSW Commissioner Stacey Tannos will visit the Point Danger Marine Rescue Unit this morning (Wednesday 7th September) as part of a three-day visit to meet local volunteers on the North Coast.
Marine Rescue NSW Commissioner, Stacey Tannos ESM
Commissioner Tannos, who was appointed on July 1, is visiting MRNSW units along the coastline to meet as many members as possible and familiarise himself with their equipment, facilities and key matters of local interest.
'Our volunteers are the great strength of Marine Rescue NSW. They are committed to saving lives on the water and give their time unstintingly to provide a vital emergency service in coastal communities such as the Tweed,' he said.
'Since I joined Marine Rescue I have been out talking to our members to find out what they need, what are the issues of importance to them and how we can support them in their work to assist and protect the boating community.
'I want to acknowledge each of them for their hard work and dedication to this organisation and the boating public.
'The organisation’s 3,200 members operate 42 Radio units and 44 accredited Marine Rescue units along the NSW coastline.
'In addition to Search and Rescue, our members also provide continuous radio communication from here on the NSW-Queensland border to Victoria and a range of boating safety education courses.
'They also give their time to train and maintain their own high level of skills and to energetically raise funds in their local communities. This is particularly important in an increasingly busy area for boating such as here on the border.'
While on the North Coast, the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner Heinz Mueller also will visit volunteers at Brunswick Heads, Cape Byron, Ballina, Evans Head, Iluka-Yamba and Wooli.
Unit Commander Bernie Gabriel said: 'We have 154 members at Point Danger and serve a very active boating area. We expect this to increase by around 1,000 vessels over the next two years with the continued land development in the region.
'Our radio operators Log On more than 2,800 vessels each month and in the past year we’ve responded to 120 rescue calls. That’s an annual average of well over two a week and just recently we attended two vessels that were both destroyed by fire on the Tweed River.'
Commissioner Tannos acknowledged the financial support of the NSW Government and the boating community through NSW Maritime for Marine Rescue’s emergency, radio and training services.
'This generous support has given us a sound base of around 50% of our budget and enabled us to embark on an ambitious program to modernise our rescue fleet,' he said.
'Our number one priority is safety on the water for both our volunteers and the boating community. We are working to provide our volunteers with more up-to-date, safe and reliable equipment so they can continue assisting the NSW recreational boating community.
'Even with this funding support, as a community-based organisation, we still need to rely on our volunteers’ fundraising activities to contribute towards the $14 million we need to provide our services.'
Commissioner Tannos reminded boaters to always log on and log off with their local Marine Rescue radio base whenever they are on the water.
Marine Rescue NSW website