The newest addition to the Marine Rescue NSW fleet, a $680,000 offshore rescue vessel, was officially commissioned at Iluka Yamba today (10am, Friday, September 9).
Marine Rescue NSW Patron, round-the-world sailor Kay Cottee, and Commissioner Stacey Tannos commissioned Iluka Yamba 30 in a ceremony at the Iluka Yamba Yacht Club.
Commissioner Tannos said Iluka Yamba 30, a Steber 38, had already proven a valuable addition to marine search and rescue capability in the busy boating area of the North Coast.
'IY 30 is another tangible demonstration of our volunteers’ rock-solid commitment to saving lives on the water,' he said.
'The vessel had a baptism of fire just 10 days after its delivery when our volunteers were called by the NSW Police Force Marine Area Command to rush to the scene of a trawler ablaze four nautical miles offshore from Broom Head at 1am on August 29.
'While this was a serious and unfortunate emergency, it provided the members of Marine Rescue Iluka Yamba with the opportunity to observe the full capabilities of their new vessel under testing operating conditions.
'This shows the great value of the additional funding provided to MRNSW by the State Government and the boating community through NSW Maritime.
'This generous financial support has given us a sound base of around 50% of our total $14 million budget and enabled us to embark on an ambitious program to modernise our rescue fleet,' he said.
'Safety on the water is our highest priority and this funding is allowing us to upgrade our emergency fleet to provide our members with more modern, safe and reliable equipment.'
Commissioner Tannos said IY 30 was the third vessel of its kind purpose-built for the service’s marine search and rescue specifications by Steber International, of Taree.
Iluka Yamba Unit Commander, Barry Storey, said: 'Iluka Yamba 30 is performing beautifully. She is powerful, fast and a brilliant platform for our work.'
Commissioner Tannos, who was appointed on July 1, is visiting MRNSW units along the length of the coastline to meet as many members as possible and familiarise himself with their equipment, facilities and matters of interest.
On a three-day visit to the North Coast, the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner Heinz Mueller have also visited the Point Danger, Brunswick, Cape Byron, Ballina and Evans Head units and will meet Wooli volunteers this afternoon.
'Our volunteers are the great strength of Marine Rescue NSW,' Commissioner Tannos 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.
'Each of them deserves thanks for their hard work and dedication to this organisation and the boating public. Our 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 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.
'I am well aware that the people of the North Coast have been generous in their support for the work of their local units over many years and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them as well.'
He 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