by Ken McManus
The formal commissioning ceremony for Shoalhaven 30, the latest addition to the Marine Rescue NSW fleet, a $680,000 Steber 38 offshore rescue vessel, took place today (Sunday 28 August) at Greenwell Point on the NSW Illawarra coast.
Shoalhaven 30 in action
Marine Rescue NSW Commissioner Stacey Tannos, said 'Shoalhaven 30, will be a valuable addition to marine search and rescue capability on the South Coast, boosting safety for the local boating community.'
'This is one of four new vessels of its kind that will be purpose-built in 2011 by internationally successful NSW boat builder, Steber International, of Taree, to meet our search and rescue specifications,' Commissioner Tannos said, 'and she forms an important part of our strategically located safety net of offshore vessels covering the NSW coastline.'
'Our coverage of the Illawarra to mid South Coast is exceptional with Marine Rescue units operating from ten separate locations in the 84 nautical miles between Wollongong and Batemans Bay.'
Shoalhaven Unit Commander Bill Carter said, 'Shoalhaven 30 provides Marine Rescue Volunteers operating out of Greenwell Point a far more capable platform for carrying out marine rescues in their area. She can be deployed up to 30 nautical miles offshore and is faster, safer and can operate in more adverse conditions than any previous vessel stationed at Greenwell Point.
'We carry out around 120 rescues each year from here and Shoalhaven 30 is equipped for the job to ensure that future rescues are performed quickly, efficiently and safely for both the volunteer crews and the crews of disabled vessels. State of the art electronics on board include Raymarine navigation, Icom marine radio electronics, Furuno AIS (Automatic Identification System), FLIR night vision, Radio Direction Finding and advanced first aid equipment, including Australian Defibrillators cardiac defibrillator and oxygen therapy.
'This is a busy fishing and cruising region,' he continued, 'Boaties putting to sea at Greenwell Point routinely fish popular areas including the distant Sir John Young Banks, Jervis Bay Canyons and the Kiama Canyons chasing not only smaller fish but also the larger seasonal pelagic species.'
'Shoalhaven 30 has also been given the additional name of A.M. McGilvray II, after the founder of the original volunteer marine rescue organisation her in the 1970’s.'
James Glissan QC, Chairman of Marine Rescue NSW said, 'More than 5,000 working hours have gone into the construction of Shoalhaven 30, involving shipwrights, electricians, upholsterers, marine engineers, cabinet makers, fibreglass laminators and apprentices.
'We are proud that we have been able to make an important contribution to the NSW economy and development of local skills in our state.'
Commissioner Tannos acknowledged the vital support of the NSW Government and the boating community for Marine Rescue’s essential services.
'The generous financial support MRNSW receives from the State Government and members of the boating community as a contribution from their boat licences and registrations has enabled us to embark on an ambitious program to modernise our rescue fleet, including commissioning Shoalhaven 30,' 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 up-to-date, safe and reliable equipment so they can continue providing the NSW recreational boating community with their valuable services.
'The ongoing annual Government grant of $1.4 million, plus around $5 million from the boating community through NSW Maritime, means that MRNSW can depend on about 50 per cent of the 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.
'Shoalhaven 30 at Greenwell Point is another tangible demonstration of Marine Rescue NSW’s commitment to saving lives on the water.'
Commissioner Tannos reminded boaters to always log on and log off with their local Marine Rescue radio base whenever they are on the water. To find your local base, visit click here.
Marine Rescue NSW website