Progress
On Sep 10, 2020

New Deputy Commissioner

Marine Rescue NSW has announced the appointment of Alex Barrell as its new Deputy Commissioner.

Commissioner Stacey Tannos said Mr Barrell had been the stand-out candidate from a competitive field of 145 applicants.

“Our reputation as a leader in the national marine rescue sector guaranteed we would attract strong interest in this important role leading our organisation’s operational performance,” he said.

“Alex’s career path, most recently as the Acting Executive Director of NSW Maritime and with 24 years in the NSW Police Force, particularly in the Marine Area Command (MAC) and emergency management, is tailor made for this position,” he said.

“Alex was the stand out candidate from a very strong field. He brings a mixture of skills and experience – including as a volunteer – that is ideally suited for our vital work to save lives on the water.

“I have no doubt he will be a strong advocate for our volunteers and will hit the ground running with energy and enthusiasm.”

Mr Barrell said he was looking forward to joining the organisation in October.

“It feels a little bit natural. I’ve had a long association with Marine Rescue over the years,” he said.

He has frequently worked alongside MRNSW members both on operations and during the peak season deployment of MRNSW liaison personnel to the Marine Area Command.

He said his priorities would be getting to know the volunteers and understanding the operational challenges across the State.

“That’s the style of leadership I like to embrace, getting out and engaging with people. It will be a high priority for me to get to know the volunteers and operational teams,” he said.

Mr Barrell joined the NSW Police Force in 1994, initially serving in general duties before becoming a Police Diver. He then moved to the boats, being posted to the Eden Water Police before returning to Sydney, coordinating Botany Bay and Sydney Water Police sectors and leading Search and Rescue for the MAC.

He has spent time with the Police Emergency Management Unit, supporting the State Emergency Operations Controller and developing the Force’s emergency management capacity.

Transferring across White Bay from MAC to NSW Maritime, he worked across recreational and commercial boating safety and legislation and policy areas, before stepping in as Acting Executive Director.

“I was fortunate to grow up on and around the water and that’s where I really got my passion for it. I didn’t really join the police with the goal to get into marine but then I went into the Diving Unit and opportunities came to move and I find myself still in the maritime sector 25 years later,” he said.

Mr Barrell is married with three children and lives on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. He has a lengthy association with Surf Life Saving as a volunteer at the North Curl Curl and Pambula clubs and also worked as a lifeguard in Warringah and the Channel Islands.

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