New Marine Rescue Woolgoolga vessel commissioned

NSW Parliamentary Secretary for Disaster Recovery Janelle Saffin, Marine Rescue NSW Commissioner Alex Barrell, Woolgoolga Deputy Unit Commander Shirley Teague and Unit Commander Brian Taylor.

A NEW Marine Rescue vessel was commissioned this week, providing a significant water safety boost for the Woolgoolga community.

NSW Parliamentary Secretary for Disaster Recovery Janelle Saffin welcomed the $862,930 vessel on Tuesday alongside Marine Rescue NSW Commissioner Alex Barrell.

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The new vessel, Woolgoolga 30, funded by the NSW Government, has also been named the ‘Tamieka Lee’.

Ms Saffin said it was an honour to commission the new vessel, which is a vital addition to support the life-saving work of Marine Rescue NSW volunteers.

“This rescue boat has the speed and technology to quickly and safely get rescue crews where they are needed when vital seconds count.

“This outstanding rescue vessel is a valuable investment in the safety of the region and the active users of our local waters.

“On behalf of the people of Woolgoolga, and visitors to our local waters, I thank all the dedicated, hardworking Marine Rescue volunteers,” she said.

Commissioner Barrell said the new rescue vessel is a much-welcomed asset for the community.

“Boaters at Woolgoolga can rest easier knowing that this state-of-the-art vessel is at the ready should they run into trouble.

“Volunteer crew members at Marine Rescue Woolgoolga have been fully trained on the operation of the new vessel and are ready to respond to people in need,” Commissioner Barrell said.

The 9.5 metre Naiad Hamilton jet boat is powered by a 575 horsepower Cummins engine and features a specialist Raymarine suite of maritime navigation equipment and FLIR (forward looking infrared camera).

Commissioner Barrell said the replacement rescue boat was designed and built to meet demanding local operating conditions and would prove a reassuring presence for locals and visitors alike.

“This vessel is launched and retrieved from the beach which was a major factor in the design phase.

“Woolgoolga 30 can quickly deploy up to 30 nautical miles out to sea to rescue boaters who find themselves in trouble offshore.

“Marine Rescue Woolgoolga is a vital part of the Marine Rescue NSW network and we are fortunate to have 45 dedicated volunteers here committed to saving lives on the water.”

Marine Rescue Woolgoolga Unit Commander Brian Taylor thanked the NSW Government for funding the cost of the new vessel.

He said the new vessel was a significant improvement over the unit’s former Ellis jet rescue boat.

“It is a superior vessel and an important asset for the community.

“The upgraded search and rescue technology on board has improved our search capability, which is vital to our mission of saving lives on the water.

“This vessel has many important features including improved handling, manoeuvrability and greater volunteer comfort allowing our crews to operate more safely for longer periods and in a wider range of weather and conditions.

“It is much lighter and easier to control than the former vessel and can essentially turn on a dime.”

The Tamieka Lee has been named in honour of two young people with a strong connection to Woolgoolga Deputy Unit Commander Shirley Teague, who has dedicated more than thirteen years to Marine Rescue NSW at both the Coffs Harbour and Woolgoolga units.

“Shirley’s daughter Tamieka lost her life to ovarian cancer in 2016 and Lee lost his life not long after Tamieka passed.

“Lee is the son of Ursula and Trevor Kirby, long-time supporters of Marine Rescue Woolgoolga and close family friends of Shirley.

“We are proud that this new vessel bears Tamieka and Lee’s names and that their memories can live on while it carries out its vital life-saving work on the region’s waters,” Unit Commander Taylor said.

Marine Rescue NSW is a volunteer based not-for-profit professional organisation dedicated to keeping boaters safe on the water and supporting local communities.

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