BREAKING NEWS — NSW Maritime Medals recognise service to boating community

BREAKING NEWS - NSW Maritime Medals Recognise Service to Boating Community

Six marine rescue volunteers are among 11 people to receive this year’s NSW Maritime Medals in recognition of their contribution to the State’s boating community. 

NSW Ports and Waterways Minister, Joe Tripodi, today presented the 2009-10 Maritime Medals aboard the Tall Ship James Craig at a function that also marked the launch of the new boating season.

Six of the recipients are long-serving members of volunteer marine rescue organisations, including Michael Stringer ESM OAM, who has more than 35 years experience in emergency services and disaster management.

“Mike Stringer is a highly skilled coxswain of volunteer lifeboats operating out of Sydney Harbour and has been involved in hundreds of rescue missions, many of them in dangerous conditions,” Tripodi said.

“In one rescue, he swam with a lifeline through breaking seas to reach a badly injured sailor on rocks at West Head in Pittwater, and then brought him safely back to the lifeboat.

“Mike and his crews have been responsible for more than 900 marine rescues and it's estimated he has personally volunteered well over 45,000 unpaid hours,” said Tripodi.

The Minister also commended Stringer for his contribution to the administration and coordination of rescue and emergency services. This has included his efforts over the past decade to achieve a more unified approach to volunteer marine rescue operations, leading to the foundation this year of Marine Rescue NSW.

“The new organisation draws together people from the three existing volunteer organisations into one to provide greater consistency for rescue services, communications and training,” Tripodi said.

Others to receive medals for their service to the volunteer rescue movement were: John McCloskey from the Broken Bay volunteer rescue community, Port Kembla volunteer Bruce Mitchell, Ken Fletcher from Port Macquarie, and Patricia Fayers and Norm Smith from the Central Coast

Of the other five medal recipients, Bill Joselin from Belrose and Ronald Thompson from North Gosford have been recognised for their contributions to sailing and windsurfing; Robert Albert from Wahroonga and Andy Munns from Glen Haven received medals for their work with the Sydney Heritage Fleet, and Jack Garaty has been acknowledged for his contribution to the boating community of Lake Macquarie.

The 11 2009-10 NSW Maritime Medal recipients were chosen by an independent panel from 32 candidates who were assessed in three categories — Safety, Environment and Community.

“The Maritime Medal is designed to acknowledge those who make an outstanding and sustained contribution to the maritime community and this year’s medallists are certainly worthy recipients,” said Tripodi.

The 2009 NSW Maritime Medal recipients are:
Michael Stringer
, Narrabeen – Community medal for contribution to volunteer marine rescue.
John McCloskey, Hamlyn Terrace – Community medal for contribution to volunteer marine rescue.
John has been an active and dedicated member of the Broken Bay volunteer marine rescue community for more than 40 years. Since joining in 1968 he has served in a variety of roles, from patrol boat crew and skipper through to divisional commander. He has conducted safe boating and radio courses and served as a boat licence examiner.
Bruce Mitchell, Dapto – Community and Safety medal for contribution to volunteer marine rescue.
Bruce has been an active member of the Port Kembla volunteer marine rescue community since 2001, and played a leading role in the successful reorganisation of the local services from 2004-2005. As Illawarra squadron commander since 2005, he is on call 24/7 for potential search and rescue operations and devotes at least 20 to 30 hours each week to volunteer marine rescue administration and fundraising.
Ken Fletcher, Port Macquarie – Safety medal for contribution to volunteer marine rescue.
Ken has been an active member of the Port Macquarie volunteer marine rescue community since 1985, as a rescue crewman and skipper for more than 25 years and as an office bearer, including four years as president, boat-training coach, maintenance engineer and relief radio operator. His fundraising initiatives have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for marine rescue on the mid north coast.
Patricia Fayers, West Gosford – Safety medal for contribution to volunteer marine rescue.
Pat has been an active member of the Central Coast volunteer marine rescue community throughout the past decade, and since 2006 she has taken on the role of divisional commander, with responsibilities for running a base with more than 100 volunteers.
Norm Smith, Ettalong – Safety medal for contribution to volunteer marine rescue.
Norm has been an active participant in the volunteer marine rescue community of the Central Coast for 28 years as a patrol boat skipper. He has also served as radio officer, divisional commander, operations officer and boat license examiner.
Bill Joselin, Belrose – Community medal for contribution to the sport of windsurfing.
Bill has for the past two decades been a driving force in the sport of windsurfing (also called boardsailing) in NSW and Australia, organising and managing hundreds of events from local regattas through to the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.
Ronald Thomson, North Gosford – Community medal for contribution to the sport of sailing.
Ronald is a centreboard boat sailing enthusiast who has served as voluntary race starter at Lake Macquarie 16ft Skiff Sailing Club for more than 30 years, and has also contributed countless hours to promoting junior programs at Gosford Sailing Club.
Robert Albert, Wahroonga – Community medal for contribution to the Sydney Heritage Fleet.
Robert has been a member of the Sydney Heritage Fleet since the mid 1980s and patron since 1996, and is currently chairman of the Board of Governors. The restoration of the three-masted barque the James Craig would not have been possible without his drive, determination and strong financial support. The Albert family also donated the 1903 schooner Boomerang to the Sydney Heritage Fleet.
Andy Munns, Glen Haven – Community medal for contribution to the Sydney Heritage fleet.
Andy joined the Sydney Heritage Fleet in 1972 and is one of the organisation’s longest serving and hardest working volunteers, putting in more than 1000 hours a year as honorary curator and working on the restorations of steam tug Waratah, steam launch Lady Hopetoun and the 1927 coastal steamer John Oxley.
Jack Garaty, Coal Point – Community and Environment medal for contribution to the boating community of Lake Macquarie.
Jack has served for more than 10 years as community representative on three committees working to improve the boating environment, facilities and strategy for the dredging and maintenance of Swansea Channel.

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