Funding helps Newcastle volunteers save lives on the water

Boating safety on Newcastle waterways has been boosted thanks to Port Waratah Coal Services’ support to ensure Marine Rescue Newcastle remains ready to respond to emergencies.

As part of the Port Waratah Community Investment Partnership Programme, the unit received funds to purchase the essential Dry Berth infrastructure to keep its new $535,000 rescue vessel, Newcastle 30, in tip-top condition for rapid response.

The new infrastructure lifts and secures Newcastle 30 from the water when it is not underway to an emergency or on routine patrols or training exercises.

Sitting above the water prevents the vessel’s aluminium hull from corroding through constant immersion in salt water or becoming fouled by harmful marine growth or electrolysis.

MR Newcastle Unit Commander Ron Calman thanked Port Waratah for its generous support for the unit’s volunteers and their mission to save lives on the water.

“This new infrastructure means our boat needs to spend far less time out of the water for cleaning, maintenance and repairs to damage to the hull caused by salt and growth,” he said.

“That’s good news for Newcastle boaters because it means we’re ready to head out at a minute’s notice whenever we receive a call for help.

“It’s also good news for the environmental health of our waterways, as the boat’s hull will no longer need to be coated with anti-fouling chemicals, preventing these from leeching into the water.”

He said this would save the unit significant costs in re-coating the vessel each year, maintenance and repairs and would help extend its operational life.

CEO of Port Waratah, Hennie Du Plooy, said it was an easy decision to support Marine Rescue Newcastle’s application for a dry berth.

“The new dry berth asset will help an essential service save lives on Newcastle Harbour and along Newcastle’s coastline,” said Mr du Plooy.

“We’re proud to partner with local organisations, like Marine Rescue Newcastle, through our Programme to deliver critical health, safety and environmental outcomes and services to our community.”

The unit’s volunteers will be on watch throughout the summer boating season.

“We urge all boaters to Log On with Marine Rescue Newcastle whenever they are heading out via VHF Channel 16 or the free Marine Rescue App,” said UC Calman.

“It’s quick and easy – tell us where you’re heading, how many people are on board and when you plan to return. If you haven’t Logged Off when expected, we’ll know to start looking for you.

“And please make sure everyone on board is wearing a lifejacket before you get under way. It can only save your life if you’re wearing it,” he said.