National Medal awarded to Marine Rescue skipper Bob Ford

Coffs Harbour Marine Rescue volunteers Graham Taylor, Shirley Teague and Bob Ford, Member for Cowper Pat Conaghan, City of Coffs Harbour Mayor Paul Amos, Bernie Tight and Rodney Page. Photo: Leanne Coutman.

THE National Medal has been awarded to Coffs Coast Marine Rescue volunteer Bob Ford in recognition of over fifteen years of diligent service risking his own safety to assist others on our local seas.

On Thursday 17 November, Member for Cowper Pat Conaghan presented the medal to Bob aboard the Marine Rescue vessel in Coffs Harbour.

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Bob joined the service in 2007 and trained as a radio operator and boat crew, becoming a coxswain in 2011 and subsequently a skipper.

Bob and his crew have gone to sea to assist vessels in conditions where Marine Rescue would advise the boating public not to go out in their boats.

“Pat Conahan acknowledged the fact that every time we embark on a rescue, we risk our own lives and safety,” Bob told News Of The Area.

“While many of our jobs can be described as fairly pedestrian, ie a flat battery, out of fuel etc, some jobs can be downright life threateningly dangerous.

“For example, rescues in wild and dangerous weather, or even soul shattering when outcomes result in loss of life.
“Unfortunately, we do sometimes see situations that could be totally avoided with the application of a modicum of common sense.

“Fortunately we all train constantly and extensively for all situations, and have a first class vessel in Coffs Harbour,” he said.

Bob has lived and worked locally for over 40 years, and on early retirement jumped at the opportunity to join Marine Rescue and return something of value to his community “as well as continue my love of all things nautical, having been a waterman most of my life”.

Marine Rescue has been an integral part of Bob’s life over the past fifteen-plus years which he hopes will continue to be for the foreseeable future.


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