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Marine rescue vessel launched

Marine rescue vessel launched

Marine Rescue 4          Written by Adele Pavlidis    Photographer: Byron Wallace

 

November 9 was a perfect Gold Coast spring day when Marine Rescue 4, Volunteer Marine Rescue Southport’s 20th Vessel, was officially launched. Traffic heading towards The Spit was slow as the entire population of the Gold Coast and Brisbane headed to the beach, or so it seemed. The beautiful weather and lure of the beach meant that several important guests were also delayed. The Honorable Ted Malone, Assistant Minister for Emergency Volunteers, joked that it took him longer to travel the last 10kms of his journey than it did for him to travel the first leg of journey from his electorate of Mirani!

Other notable guests were the Honourable Verity Barton, State Member for Broadwater, and City of Gold Coast Councillors Dawn Crichlow and Lex Bell, along with dignitaries from the Water Police, Queensland Ambulance Service, and the Southport Yacht Club. There was standing room only as the community celebrated the hard work and dedication of VMR Southport in the shade of “Leechy’s Lean-to”, the outdoor entertainment area named in honour of Senior Skipper and Life Member Chris Leech.

THE VESSEL

Marine Rescue 4, a Noosa Cat 2400 Walkabout powered by 2/150hp Mercury Verado Four Stroke outboards with Electronic Controls and Power Steering, will fill an important gap as a dedicated training vessel ensuring the safety of crews and a commitment to training the Volunteer Marine Rescue teams of the future. It also acts as a secondary rescue vessel for VMR Southport’s fleet. With 871 call outs for assistance in 2013, and as the population and popularity of the Gold Coast continues to grow, the need for Marine Rescue 4 is undeniable.

President of VMR Southport, Steve Pomas, relayed the story of the group’s first secondary vessel acquired in 1980 at a cost of $2,000. Now, over three decades later, with tireless fundraising and negotiation over 18 months by their dedicated volunteers, Marine Rescue 4 was acquired for $165,000. As Steve said in his speech, “That’s a lot of $2 raffle tickets.” There were some delays in the boat build, but as they say, “all’s well that ends well”, and Marine Rescue 4’s acquisition and launch was certainly a fabulous result for all involved.

VMR SOUTHPORT

VMR Southport provides 24-hour assistance, 7 days per week, all provided by dedicated volunteers. These volunteers were celebrated at the launch of Marine Rescue 4. With 148 Active Members, and 3,340 Associate Members (boating public) the organisation is a true testament to the spirit of the Gold Coast community, helping each other and keeping our beautiful waterways safe for everyone to enjoy. Eight of its most tireless members were chosen to be the first crew to take the helm of Marine Rescue 4 for its maiden voyage to the cheers of the crowd.

A RESCUE INCIDENT

Unfortunately, the day wasn’t all champagne and cheers. Sadly, while official proceedings were underway, there was a boating accident nearby. Volunteers acted quickly, jumping into Marine Rescue 2 and racing to assist. The jovial skippers soon turned serious as they headed out. Ambulance crew were also in attendance. A person had suffered a spinal injury, but thankfully VMR Southport and the Queensland Ambulance Service responded in record time.

As dignified guests and community members mingled and celebrated the launch of Marine Rescue 4, and children played and enjoyed the food and drink provided, the seriousness of the day could not be forgotten. The need for rescue and training vessels is needed now more than ever since VMR Southport first served the Gold Coast waterways back in 1968.

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