Volunteers from Marine Rescue The Entrance will today mark the official commissioning of their new $120,000 rescue vessel and opening of their new $30,000 jetty and unit extensions.
MRNSW Deputy Commissioner Heinz Mueller will join The Entrance MP Chris Spence, Unit Commander Stewart Masters and volunteers at the event, to be held at the unit headquarters in Foreshore Reserve at North Entrance.
The Deputy Commissioner will formally commission the newest addition to the MRNSW fleet.
The Entrance 20 (TE 20), a highly-manoeuvrable 6.25m Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat built by Cobia Boats at Huskisson on the South Coast and powered by twin 90 HP 4-stroke Suzuki outboard motors, replaces the unit’s ageing 5.6m Shark Cat, built in 1985.
“As we head towards another peak summer boating period, TE 20 is sure to prove a valuable addition to our marine search and rescue capability in this incredibly popular boating area of the Central Coast,” the Deputy Commissioner said.
“This is our first new rescue vessel commissioned this financial year, following our record investment of $2.5 million in 13 new and upgraded boats in 2011-2012 as part of our ongoing program to modernise our rescue fleet.
“Volunteers from The Entrance have already put TE 20 to good use to assist a number of boaters and more unusually, to tow a seaplane forced to ditch in Tuggerah Lakes last month to safety at the Picnic Point boat ramp.”
Unit Commander Masters said the unit’s crews had been carrying out intensive training on the new vessel since its delivery early last month.
“The great benefits of this new vessel are its manoeuvrability and versatility,” UC Masters said.
“Working as we do on the busy Lakes system to help not only our local boaters but also visitors who may not be familiar with the waterway, our crews also appreciate the boat’s ability to enter shallow waters to provide assistance without the risk of grounding.
“She also provides our crews with more space to operate and new, more advanced electronic equipment, including radar, GPS plotter and sounder, Automatic Identification System and VHF DCN and 27 MHz radios, to assist in search and rescue operations.”
The $30,000 project to build the new jetty and extend the unit to provide additional training and storage space was funded through a $20,000 State Government grant and another $10,000 raised by the unit’s volunteers.
“We’re very grateful for the Government’s support for our volunteers and our work to save lives on the water through this $20,000 grant,” UC Masters said.
“We now have improved facilities for our members’ training activities, helping them to continue developing and honing the skills and knowledge they need for their work to help boaters, as well as secure storage for our rescue equipment.
“We have converted our floating dry dock, which was donated by the local Freemasons, to accommodate the single-hull Cobia and moved it alongside the jetty. We can launch the boat within just a couple of minutes, meaning we’re on the water faster than ever in an emergency.”
Deputy Commissioner Mueller said TE 20 demonstrated the value of the ongoing funding support for MRNSW from the NSW Government and members of the boating community, who contribute through their boating licence and registration fees.
“The modern boats we are now commissioning to upgrade our fleet of 74 accredited vessels are delivering tremendous benefits to both volunteers and boating community,” he said.
“These boats represent major advances in power, safety, handling, technology and speed of response.”
He thanked The Entrance volunteers for their hard work and dedication to the organisation and the boating public.
“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,” he said.
“As the members of The Entrance have certainly shown, 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 Central Coast have been generous in their support for the work of The Entrance and other local units over many years and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them as well.”
Deputy Commissioner Mueller reminded boaters to always log on and log off with their local Marine Rescue radio base whenever they were on the water.