Boaters will be safer on Forster-Tuncurry waterways and offshore with the addition of a new $335,000 rapid response search and rescue vessel to the Marine Rescue NSW fleet, Member for Myall Lakes Stephen Bromhead said today.
Mr Bromhead, MidCoast Council Mayor David West and MRNSW Deputy Commissioner Dean Storey and Board Directors joined volunteers from Marine Rescue Forster-Tuncurry to officially commission Forster 20(Wallis Lake) at the unit’s boat base on Forster’s Southern Breakwall.
Mr Bromhead said the vessel would enhance the region’s rescue resources and capability, boosting the safety of boaters on the popular local waterways.
“Marine Rescue Forster-Tuncurry saves many lives on the water and requires first class assets to reach people in distress safely and swiftly,” Mr Bromhead said. “Our local volunteers underpin the safety of recreational and commercial boaters in this region.
“The NSW Government is proud to support the amazing volunteers from MRNSW, who give their time and energy to respond to emergencies on the water and operate the State’s marine radio network. The Government’s investment of $37.6 million in MRNSW over the coming four years is the biggest funding injection in the service’s history.”
Forster 20, a 6.8 metre Ocean Cylinder, gives MR Forster-Tuncurry greater operational flexibility, responding to emergencies on Wallis Lake and up to seven nautical miles offshore, with a crew of four. It supplements the open water capabilities of the larger Steber 38, Forster 30.
Deputy Commissioner Storey said the new boat was among more than 90 new and refurbished rescue vessels delivered at a cost of more than $21 million under the ongoing MRNSW Fleet Modernisation Program.
“Forster-Tuncurry is one of the State’s premier boating locations,” he said. “The unit’s rescue crews responded to 58 emergencies in the past year and its radio operators tracked nearly 3,000 vessel voyages, watching over about 9,000 boaters to ensure they returned safely to shore.”
Marine Rescue Forster-Tuncurry Unit Commander David Gibson welcomed the new vessel.
“She’s a beauty, proudly built in NSW. It’s very satisfying to have a purpose-built boat equipped with search and rescue, navigation and advanced first aid equipment,” Mr Gibson said.