by Ken McManus
Marine Rescue NSW - Volunteers from Marine Rescue Jervis Bay will today celebrate the official commissioning of their rapid-response rescue vessel, Jervis Bay20 ‘Wayne Walker’.
Marine Rescue Jervis Bay rescue vesselJervis Bay 20 ‘Wayne Walker’at full speed.
The vessel and its air-berth represent a further investment of $47,000 by Marine Rescue NSW in boating safety in the Illawarra region. This follows the major refurbishment of the unit’s large 12.5m Steber offshore rescue vessel, Jervis Bay 40 ‘Colin Woods’, in 2012, at a cost of $414,500.
MRNSW Commissioner Stacey Tannos and Board Directors, along with dignitaries including Parliamentary Speaker and South Coast MP Shelley Hancock, Gilmore MP Ann Sudmalis and Shoalhaven Mayor Joanna Gash, will join unit members at the vessel’s commissioning ceremony at 10a.m.
Commissioner Tannos said the 6.8 metre Marlin Broadbill Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB) was a quick response vessel well suited to operations on Jervis Bay.
'The Marlin Broadbill is an effective companion to Jervis Bay 40, making it a valuable search and rescue resource for Jervis Bay, the Illawarra’s most popular inshore waterway for recreational boating,' he said.
'It forms an important part of Marine Rescue’s strategic safety net of rescue vessels covering the NSW coastline and inland on the Alpine Lakes and the Murray River at Moama.
'This rapid response vessel is one of 36 new and refurbished vessels delivered to date at a cost of more than $10 million as part of our ongoing project to upgrade our rescue fleet through the financial support of the NSW Government and the boating community.'
The boat is named in recognition of the contribution of Jervis Bay member Wayne Walker to the unit and marine rescue services in the Illawarra over 23 years. Mr Walker was one of the founders of the then Jervis Bay Coastal Patrol (now Marine Rescue) in 1991 and has held numerous positions, including Unit Commander and Search Master. He was instrumental in the acquisition of the Colin Woods for marine rescue service in 2000.
Unit Commander Greg Atkinson said Jervis Bay 20 was chosen for its reliability, flexibility and suitability for work on the bay.
'This is a great asset for the unit and for our many local and visiting boaters. The boat is swift and highly manoeuverable, enabling us to respond quickly to an emergency on the bay,' he said.
'It is fitted with state of the art navigation, marine radios, and after dark search lighting, making it a 24-hour emergency response vessel in the changing conditions of Jervis Bay.'
During the commissioning event, at Club Jervis Bay, Ms Sudmalis will present National Medals to Mr Atkinson, Mr Walker and Paul Ommundson, acknowledging their long and diligent service to volunteer marine rescue. Commissioner Tannosalso will present MRNSW Long Service Medals to members.
Ms Hancock will perform the christening of the vessel and present a Go Pro Camera to Unit Commander Atkinson for recording rescue and training activities.
The Commissioner paid tribute to the unit’s volunteers for their hard work and dedication to serving the region’s large boating community.
He acknowledged the vital support of the State Government and the boating community for Marine Rescue’s essential services.
'The financial support we receive from the Government and through boaters’ registration and licence fees provides about 50 per cent of the annual budget we need to provide NSW with a world-class marine search and rescue, radio network and education service for safer boating,' he said.
Commissioner Tannos reminded boaters to always wear a lifejacket when on board and to Log On and Off with their local Marine Rescue radio base whenever they were on the water. To find your local base, visit marinerescuensw.com.au
The public is invited to inspect the unit’s rescue vessels and the Marine Rescue Radio Base at Huskisson at noon after the commissioning ceremony.