On Oct 28, 2020

$343,000 safety boost for Illawarra boaters

NSW Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott has commissioned a new $343,000 rescue vessel delivered thanks to a record $37.6 million State Government funding injection to Marine Rescue NSW.

Mr Elliott and Member for South Coast Shelley Hancock joined Marine Rescue NSW Commissioner Stacey Tannos, Deputy Commissioner Alex Barrell and volunteers from Marine Rescue Sussex Inlet to officially welcome their new vessel, Sussex Inlet 20, to the MRNSW fleet.

“This modern new vessel means the members of the Sussex Inlet unit are now better equipped than ever to respond to emergencies and save lives on the region’s busy waterways,” Mr Elliott said.

“The NSW Government is a proud supporter of Marine Rescue volunteers, which is why we have invested an additional $37.6 million to deliver 38 new rescue vessels, improve volunteer operating facilities and enhance the marine radio network.”

MRNSW Deputy Commissioner Alex Barrell, Commissioner Stacey Tannos, MR Sussex Inlet Unit Commander Karen Lowry, Police and Emergency Services Minister David Elliott, South Coast MP Shelley Hancock and Deputy Unit Commander at the commissioning of new vessel Sussex Inlet 20.

Mrs Hancock said the 7.5 metre Ocean Cylinder vessel, fully-equipped with search and rescue, communications and navigation technology, was an investment in the safety of both the unit’s volunteers and the region’s large local and visiting boating community.

“The Government is committed to ensuring our volunteers have the safe, fit-for-purpose equipment they need for their life-saving work,” she said.

“This is a valuable rapid response resource that the unit can deploy to incidents on the Sussex Inlet, St Georges Basin and up to 15 nautical miles offshore.”

Marine Rescue NSW Commissioner Stacey Tannos said Sussex Inlet 20 was one of 103 vessels, worth more than $25 million, delivered under the organisation’s Fleet Modernisation Program.

Mr Tannos thanked the boating community for its ongoing support for Marine Rescue NSW and the State Government for its $37.6 million, four-year financial injection to fund upgraded volunteer resources and operational facilities.

“This support means we are able to ensure our volunteers have safe, modern and reliable rescue vessels like this one for their work to assist and protect NSW boaters,” he said.

Sussex Inlet 20, powered by twin 250hp Suzuki outboards, was built by Yamba Welding & Engineering on the Northern Rivers.

MR Sussex Inlet Unit Commander Karen Lowry said the vessel was named John Nicholas to honour the contribution one of the founding fathers of the Sussex Inlet unit.

Marine rescue services in Sussex Inlet began from Mr Nicholas’ butcher shop in 1974, as part of the Greenwell Point Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol. As more residents of the isolated coastal village joined, a separate Sussex Inlet and St Georges Basin division was formed in 1982, with Mr Nicholas as the founding Divisional Commander. The division later became part of the new MRNSW.

Mr Nicholas’ wife Dorothy (pictured above) was given the honour of christening the new boat.

“The boat is manoeuvrable and durable, which makes it a great resource for operations on the Inlet’s bar and the Basin, both of which can be hazardous for inexperienced boaters or when the wind blows up,” UC Lowry said.

“As well as the suite of search and rescue technology our crews need, it also carries advanced first aid equipment, including a cardiac defibrillator and oxygen kit so we are ready to provide immediate assistance in a medical emergency.”

Marine Rescue Sussex Inlet volunteers Les Pataky and Aaron Hayward, who were presented with five and 10-year Long Service Medals, respectively, with Commissioner Stacey Tannos.

Photos: Brad Whittaker.

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