by Ken McManus
Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol
The Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol has applauded the release by Minister for Ports and Waterways, the Hon Joe Tripodi, of a report into the establishment of a single Volunteer Marine Rescue Organisation in NSW.
Commodore Peter Phillipson ESM, Officer Commanding of the Coastal Patrol said, 'This is a great leap forward for marine rescue in NSW and it will bring a new era of marine safety to Australia’s busiest boating state.'
This report has been prepared by the Hon John Price, former Deputy Speaker of the NSW Parliament, following extensive consultations with key stakeholders in the recreational boating community including the three existing volunteer marine rescue organisations (VMROs) – Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol, Australian Volunteer Coast Guard Association and the Volunteer Rescue Association, as well as NSW Maritime, NSW State Rescue Board and NSW Police Force Marine Area Command, the Boating Industry Association and Boat Owners Association of NSW. Further input was obtained from senior personnel in the Queensland Dept of Emergency Services, Queensland State Water Police and the Victorian Department of Justice.
The report contains nine recommendations, the first of which is 'That a new Volunteer Rescue Organisation be established with membership invited from the existing three organisations.'
The full report is available on the NSW Maritime website http://www.maritime.nsw.gov.au/volunteers.html Members of the boating community, as well as interested members of the public, are invited to read the report and provide comment.
'The Coastal Patrol congratulates Minister Tripodi on this initiative which began 12 months ago at the 2007 Sydney International Boat Show', said Commodore Phillipson. 'This is the way forward for volunteer marine rescue in NSW and, I believe, will establish a model that can be taken up throughout Australia, where the responsibility for marine rescue is a state issue.'
The big winners in this will be the boating community; the men, woman and children who enjoy our magnificent waterways in many different ways – from an economical tinnie on a local river to the modern, luxury cruising vessel or racing yacht travelling along the Australian coast.
The proposal would bring together the expertise and immense pool of skills of the volunteers of the three different rescue groups into a single, unified marine rescue organisation.
Comments on the proposal will be received until 1 September after which a working group headed by Marine Area Command will review the recommendations and all responses to determine the way forward.