by Ken McManus
Today, at Woolgoolga, a new $337,000 offshore rescue vessel will be officially commissioned, boosting the emergency capability of Marine Rescue NSW volunteers on the State’s Mid North Coast.
New rescue vessel commissioned for Marine Rescue Woolgoolga
Parliamentary Secretary to the Police and Emergency Services Minister Geoff Provest will commission Woolgoolga 30 in a ceremony attended by Coffs Harbour MP Andrew Fraser, MRNSW Commissioner Stacey Tannos, Board members John Lynch and Peter Campton and volunteers.
Marine Rescue NSW Commissioner Stacey Tannos said the 9 metre vessel was a valuable addition to marine search and rescue resources on the Mid North Coast.
'Woolgoolga 30 forms an important part of Marine Rescue’s strategic safety net of offshore rescue vessels covering the NSW coastline,' Commissioner Tannos said.
'This rapid response vessel is the latest to be delivered as part of our ongoing project to upgrade our rescue fleet along the coastline through the financial support of the NSW Government and the boating community.
'Woolgoolga 30 is a significant investment in the safety of local and visiting boaters and also of our volunteers.'
The vessel, featuring an Ellis alloy hull, fibreglass cabin and solid buoyant collars, can travel up to 30 nautical miles offshore. It replaces the unit’s previous 11-year-old vessel, Woolgoolga 20, a 7.7m aluminium monohull, which was restricted to travelling 15 nm offshore.
In 2011, Woolgoolga unit members assisted 18 people aboard 11 vessels, worth $116,000. So far this year, the unit has gone to the aid of another 17 people on 8 vessels valued at $113,000.
Woolgoolga Unit Commander Ken Heath said Woolgoolga 30 provided the unit’s volunteers with a light-weight, speedy and highly-manoeuvrable vessel.
'Our rescue crew has been enthusiastically training on this vessel, which is well equipped to ensure that our volunteers can work efficiently, safely and swiftly to help boaters in trouble on the water,' he said.
'This boat is a significant upgrade over our previous vessel, with new radar and navigation equipment, as well as radios and electrical systems.'
State of the art electronics installed on MRNSW vessels include Raymarine navigation, Icom marine radios, Furuno AIS (Automatic Identification System) and FLIR night vision, along with advanced first aid equipment including cardiac defibrillator and oxygen.
Commissioner Tannos paid tribute to the unit’s volunteers for their dedication to serving the region’s boating community.
'The Woolgoolga members are tremendously committed to saving lives on the water, giving their time selflessly to respond to emergencies, attend regular training and conduct education and fundraising activities,' he said.
'This is a busy fishing and boating region, with visiting boaters swelling the local population over summer to take advantage of the favourable weather and boating conditions along this stretch of the Northern NSW coastline.'
Commissioner Tannos acknowledged the vital support of the State Government and the boating community for Marine Rescue’s essential services.
'Our number one priority is safety on the water for both our volunteers and the boating community,' he said.
'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.
'Even with this funding support, as a community-based organisation, we still need to rely on our volunteers’ energetic fundraising to contribute towards the $14 million we need to provide our valuable services.
'I’d encourage members of the community to support their local Marine Rescue unit’s summer raffle. First prize in each raffle is an AnglaPro MR384 runabout, fitted with a 9.9 HP 4-stroke Suzuki outboard, on a Dunbier trailer, valued at almost $9000.'
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