by NSW Maritime
NSW Maritime recently hosted an event aboard the Tall Ship James Craig to launch the boating season and to recognise eight people with NSW Maritime Medals.
NSW Maritime Medal winners
In 2005, the Maritime Advisory Council encouraged and endorsed the creation of a NSW Maritime Medal to recognise outstanding contributions by the public to boating.
The annual awards are directed at, but not limited to, a person or group who performs an outstanding effort in safety or the environment for the benefit of the boating and/or maritime community.
NSW Maritime is proud to support these awards as a way of expressing our gratitiude to those who are making extraordinary efforts for our community.
Recipients of 2007-08 NSW Maritime Medals are as follows:
Arthur Dreckmeyer who is 88 years of age and from Forster. He was recognised for his 20-year commitment to voluntary marine rescue efforts with a NSW Maritime Safety Medal.
Arthur began volunteering his services in search and rescue with the Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol in Forster after a career spent in the merchant marine.
He served as a rescue boat skipper, search master, trainer and fund raiser for the Patrol since 1988.
His enthusiasm was catching, having seen and been instrumental in membership growth from 50 members in the early days, to about 350 now.
He was a tireless and unselfish supporter of our maritime community.
Norman Muir Grant (Snr),80, and also from Forster. He was awarded a NSW Maritime Safety Medal for his commitment to providing a search and rescue operation using his own fishing trawler.
Norman was a professional fisherman who … for 30 years … would drop everything to provide a voluntary rescue service from Forster-Tuncury.
He received no payment for these services, and it was all undertaken at his own risk. In a number of instances, Norman swam to disabled vessels or people in the water to carry out a rescue.
He also, at times, bravely negotiated the coastal bar in heavy seas – heading out in his trawler NORDIC, and often coming in with stricken vessels in tow.
In all, a countless amount of time and effort was realised in more than 50 search and rescue efforts.
Mr Grant’s son, Norman Geoffrey Grant, who also attended the event yesterday assisted with many rescues while working with his father from 1969 to 1976.
Paul Helmore, of Ulladulla was awarded a NSW Maritime Community Medal for his 45-year commitment to the maritime community on the South Coast.
Paul, who attended the function with his 11-year-old son Eden, is known as a trusted ‘go-to’ man for all things maritime in the local area.
Paul is totally committed to, as well as being intimately involved in, everything that is going on in the Ulladulla maritime community.
He is involved – often unofficially – in much of the harbour community’s activities. You could say that he has local area custodianship of pretty much all of the port operations.
David Johnston of Swansea was awarded a NSW Maritime Community Medal for his seven-year voluntary commitment to community maritime projects in the Lake Macquarie area.
David is a retired representative on the Lake Macquarie Aquatic Services Committee, Lake Macquarie Estuary & Coastal Management Committee, and the Boat Owner’s Association Hunter branch.
He was often largely responsible for undertaking administration and advocacy activities for maritime issues in the Lake Macquarie area.
His passion and unselfish commitment to improving facilities for the boaters of Lake Macquarie deserved to be recognised.
Matthew O’Grady and Con Sakoulas were recognised for their extraordinary rescue efforts in a boating tragedy on Sydney Harbour last March.
Matthew (39) of Umina and Con (41) of Russell Lea - were each awarded a NSW Maritime Safety Medal for their extraordinary efforts in rescuing people involved in the collision of the Merinda and the Pam Burridge on 28 March, 2007.
Matthew, a General Purpose Hand, and Con, a ferry Engineer were aboard the Sydney Ferry Fishburn which came directly to assist at the scene of the incident. They did not think twice before repeatedly entering the water and doing all they could to assist in the rescue effort.
They were integral in the recovery effort of survivors.
They demonstrated the sort of selfless commitment to help others that epitomises the maritime, and for that matter Australian, tradition of providing assistance to those in need.
Shoalhaven Marine Rescue were recognised as a group. There are more than 100 dedicated volunteers who make up the Shoalhaven Marine Rescue Association (SMRA) and the Maritime Safety Medal was presented in recognition of their collective efforts in search and rescue on the south coast.
The volunteer marine rescue group has been operating for more than 30 years and has been responsible for saving countless lives and boats at sea.
The group’s core business is to provide marine search and rescue services to the northern part of the Shoalhaven and 15 nautical miles out to sea – from Jervis Bay to Kiama.
The list of rescues that have been successfully carried out and lives saved thanks to the Association is more than impressive and the individual incidents are too numerous to detail.
The last award was a post-humous one and went to the late Ron Isaacs. Ron of Lake Cathie was recognised for his 50-year commitment to the NSW maritime community.
Ron first became involved in marine rescue in the 1960s, starting out in the Wollongong/ Coalcliff area, and then later on the North Coast.
He was directly involved as a rescue boat skipper on ten or more rescues and on land he coordinated a number of (seven) mayday situations.
As his health deteriorated Ron became more involved in the organising side of marine rescue, with positions on numerous local and state rescue committee or boards.
Ron continued to volunteer his time until he passed away on April 30 last year.