Marine Rescue NSW launched


NSW Ports and Waterways Minister, Paul McLeay, has joined with Emergency Services Minister, Steve Whan, to congratulate the board, management, staff and volunteers of Marine Rescue NSW following their successful operational launch on New Year’s Day.

“Finalising the administrative steps and getting the insurance in place to officially open the doors for business has been achieved in quick time, laying the platform for safer boating right along the NSW coastline,” said McLeay.

“I would like to offer my personal congratulations and appreciation to all those involved and wish Marine Rescue NSW much success in its operations. This has been a key safety reform for the NSW Government and we are proud Marine Rescue has reached this important stage,” he said.

Whan said within days of the official start of operations, Marine Rescue NSW recorded a massive hike in radio contacts.

From 6am on New Year’s Day until Monday, January 4, Marine Rescue Sydney ? the primary 24/7 radio base at Terrey Hills — recorded 440 radio contacts compared with 89 in the same period in January 2009.

“Similarly, radio log-ons have increased by 59 per cent from 130 to 207. This important service allows skippers to call the base to register their boat details, destination and voyage plans, which can be given to rescuers in the event of an emergency.

“This is an historic start for this first-class marine rescue service not only for the boating public but for the entire community living on the coastal fringe of NSW,” Whan said.

Marine Rescue NSW draws together rescuers from the three existing volunteer organisations — the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard Association (AVCGA), the Volunteer Rescue Association, Marine Branch (VRA Marine Branch) and the Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol (RVCP).

Commenting on the New Year operations, Ron Woosey, Unit Commander at Marine Rescue Sydney said: “At times we had four radio operators working non-stop at peak times compared with only two last year.”

At another major NSW port, Marine Rescue Port Stephens also reported an extremely busy radio room for the weekend. Statistics from other units are still being compiled.

Interim Marine Rescue Commissioner, Glenn Finniss said: “The State’s newest volunteer emergency service has ambitious and achievable plans to build a world-class marine distress radio network for the coastline of NSW and beyond.”

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