Boating community honours memory of Bill Haskell

Bill Haskell accepting his Lifetime Membership from Marine Rescue Unit Commander Ben van der Wijngaart.

LONG-TIME Marine Rescue volunteer Bill Haskell was honoured with Life Membership for his services to the organisation recently.

Tragically however, Mr Haskell passed away soon after receiving the commendation.

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In honour of his memory, Mr Haskell’s Marine Rescue volunteer colleagues have celebrated his life and toasted him as he “crossed the bar” for the last time.

Mr Haskell was also an active member and past Commodore of the Port Stephens Yacht Club.

As well as racing with the club, he also helped organise and participated in the PacRim yacht races – a part of the Port Stephens Sister Cities program.

The races attract sailors from Australia, New Zealand, Japan, the United States, Canada and Russia to compete, with nations taking turns as hosts.

In a farewell to Mr Haskell the Port Stephens Yacht Club performed a sail past over the finish line where the stalwart volunteer had recorded many finish times including line honours and “first over the line.”

When Mr Haskell first joined the then-Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol (RVCP) fifteen years ago at Port Stephens, his past working life skills were soon recognised.

Mr Haskell had been a heavy equipment earth moving mechanic, holding several senior positions in his area of expertise.

Also a noted ‘Blue water sailor’, the Port Stephens RVCP unit soon found a position for him.

Quick to work his way through all of the required unit courses, Mr Haskell was an excellent radio base operator.

Subsequently, Mr Haskell was introduced to the then-chief engineer Mike Pierpoint.

He soon became Mike’s right-hand man and very close friend.

When Mr Pierpoint stepped down from the chief engineer position he recommended that Mr Haskell take over.

“Bill was liked by everyone, nothing was ever a problem to him and he would go out of his way to assist any member should they require such,” Mike Pierpoint told News Of The Area.

“There was a saying within the engineering group in the days of the Danial Thaine Patrol Boat and that was: ‘Bill is even liked by the ‘Bilge Rats’ that live in the engine room and he has pet names for them!’.”

Mr Haskell is remembered as a focussed, determined and outstanding person who was always a pleasure to work with.

Like the diesels he worked on, he was reliable, hard working and valued.

His dry quiet sense of humour will be sadly missed by the members of Marine Rescue Port Stephens and the Port Stephens Yacht Club.

Vale Bill Haskell.


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