by Ken McManus
The new Marine Rescue Tuggerah Lakes unit and its $120,000 rescue vessel will be formally commissioned in a dual ceremony on Sunday, August 3.
Tuggerah Lakes 20 on patrol
The Tuggerah Lakes unit was formed in January when members of Marine Rescue The Entrance and Marine Rescue Toukley voted to amalgamate their two units to better serve the large local and visiting boating community enjoying Tuggerah Lake, Budgewoi Lake and Lake Munmorah.
The combined unit now has almost 70 volunteer members.
Dobell MP Karen McNamara, Shortland MP Jill Hall, Wyong Mayor Cr Doug Eaton and Cr Lisa Matthews, representatives of other emergency services and Marine Rescue NSW Commissioner Stacey Tannos, Chair Jim Glissan and Directors Tony Long and Mike Stringer will join Tuggerah Lakes and other Marine Rescue volunteers for the celebration.
Commissioner Tannos congratulated the members on their willingness to move forward as a strong and unified unit by agreeing to the merger of the two former units, located just three km apart on the Lakes.
'Bringing together the members and assets of the two units has created a stronger operation, providing for a more efficient deployment of resources and volunteer effort and enhanced coordination of our emergency response on the lakes,' he said.
'The members deserve to be commended for their long and committed service to their previous units and their vision in moving forward together. The end result is increased safety for the local and visiting boating community in this busy and popular boating region.'
Unit Commander Stewart Masters said the unit’s operational efficiency had been enhanced with the delivery of Tuggerah Lakes 21, a 6.25m Cobia RHIB (rigid hull inflatable boat).
'This is almost identical to the unit’s existing rescue vessel, TL 20, which means our rescue crews can be readily and speedily deployed on either vessel without the need for any additional training or familiarisation,' he said.
'The Cobia is safe, stable and reliable. It’s also highly manoeuvrable, making it ideally suited to operate on the lakes, and is fitted with state of the art rescue and navigation equipment.'
The commissioning ceremony will take place at the renovated former Toukley unit base, now known as MR Tuggerah Lakes North.
Mr Masters said the members of the two former units had joined forces on the project to upgrade the North base, completely repainting the building inside and out, installing new LED lighting throughout, rewiring and re-equipping the radio room and refitting the commercial kitchen.
The Entrance unit’s base, now MR Tuggerah Lakes South, is being converted into the unit’s permanent training centre for new members and the public.
Commissioner Tannos paid tribute to the unit’s volunteers for their dedication to serving the boating community.
'Our volunteers are committed to saving lives on the water, giving their time to respond to emergencies, as well as to attend regular training, ensure their unit operates effectively and raise funds,' he said.
'The people of this region clearly value their volunteers, donating generously and taking part in fundraising activities such as the unit’s recent boat raffle, the daily pelican feeding at The Entrance and support for the unit’s mobile food caravan at many community events. We thank them for this.'
The Commissioner also acknowledged the vital support of the State Government and the boating community for Marine Rescue’s essential services.
'The financial support we receive from the Government and through boaters’ registration and licence fees is essential to our work to provide NSW with a world-class marine search and rescue, radio network and education service for safer boating,' he said.