• The BIA team at Brisbane Airport getting ready to travel to the Whitsundays.
    The BIA team at Brisbane Airport getting ready to travel to the Whitsundays.
  • Queensland National Parks ranger Dave Orgill and BIA volunteer Peter Kilpatrick of Orca Marine Services at Airlie Beach working on a pontoon which will give the Parks' boats access to the waterway again.
    Queensland National Parks ranger Dave Orgill and BIA volunteer Peter Kilpatrick of Orca Marine Services at Airlie Beach working on a pontoon which will give the Parks' boats access to the waterway again.
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Industry answers the call for cyclone help

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BIA appeal for marine industry staff sees support team head to Queensland.

Last week's appeal by the Boating Industry Association (BIA) for volunteers to help with the clean-up in the wake of Cyclone Debbie saw a team of marine professionals heading to Queensland to assist the local industry.

Led by BIA Queensland manager Aaron McKenna, a team of nine people joined forces at Brisbane Airport for the final leg to the heart of the destruction zone in the Whitsunday region. Four volunteers were staff of BIA members in NSW and the rest from members in Brisbane and the Gold Coast marine precinct.

The team comprises Peter (Zoob) and Jackson Kilpatrick from Orca Marine Services, John Lawler from Empire Marina, Lars Steele-Mills from d’Albora Marinas, Ryan Hogan from Superior Jetties, Alister Copley from CM-Consulting, freelancer Bobby Hale, and BIA past president and life member, Doug Olding. It is expected the the core team will be joined by others travelling independently.

The BIA said the call out to members during the week resulted in a prompt response, with fast offers of cash and services allowing for the support effort to go ahead. The mix of marina construction experts and boat handling people will allow the crew to provide much need specialised support to local BIA businesses devastated by the storm.

“The effort is meant to support existing local efforts” said Aaron McKenna, who coordinated the logistics for the trip. “At first it was hard to contact anyone to understand what was needed, but when I finally got through, the offer was overwhelmingly wanted, needed and appreciated.

Our team, put together from our members, will arrive with an understanding of how boating facilities are built, operate and work. Our intention is to help our colleagues get back to operations as quickly as possible.”

Before commencing the trip, McKenna said that challenges had already presented themselves.

Limited facilities in the area will mean that the crew will be staying in fairly basic accommodation. Ensuring the crew have fresh water available once there was a task, and the need to transport specialised tools with the crew was not easy.

This said, we are not going on a holiday, and compared to what the local members and people endured we count ourselves lucky to have the opportunity to help.”

BIA CEO Howard Glenn, who initiated the response, thanked those who came forward so quickly.

Apart from the human effort put forward by volunteers, I appreciate the rapid financial contributions from members to the Cyclone response, which helped get it underway. We’d welcome further donations for this national effort,” he said.

Queensland BIA members who typically call on Aaron McKenna for business support are asked contact any other member of the BIA team for help during this time.

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