Every day, The Westport Club does what it can to make a significant contribution to the quality of community life. This vision is embodied in everything we do for our members and is weaved into the culture and the demeanour of our staff as we go about our daily work. In living this vision, The Westport Club also contributes to local community organisations, assisting them to achieve their objectives through both financial and in-kind support. The Westport Club has had a long relationship with Marine Rescue Port Macquarie, an organisation who have been serving the local community since 1971. The Port Macquarie Marine Rescue Unit is comprised of two parts; a Marine Rescue (MRU) section, and a Search and Rescue Coordination Centre. The unit is classed as Emergency Services and therefore operates 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.
The Marine Rescue Unit works closely with other emergency services in major disasters and assists NSW Parks and Wildlife in whale disentanglement events if they ever occur in the Port Macquarie area. Marine Rescue team members provide a wide range of vital safety services to the Port Macquarie boating community including but not limited to:
– Swift, coordinated marine emergency response
– Boating safety education and marine licence course for local boaters
– Continuous radio coverage along the NSW coastline
The Port Macquarie Marine Rescue is a local group of more than 100 volunteers providing extensive lifesaving services to the local community and to the many visitors who frequent the rivers and ocean areas throughout the patrolled area. With so many waterways around the Port Macquarie region, the Port Macquarie Marine Rescue Unit is kept very busy!
- The Port Macquarie Marine Rescue responds to over 80 ‘official’ rescues annually.
- On average, rescues 250 people annually
- The Unit rescues vary from simple breakdowns to life threatening events.
- During the peak tourist season the Unit handles some 1300 radio calls and provides safety watch to over 300 local boats and over 20 passing vessels.
Contrary to what you might think, Marine Rescue Port Macquarie is not a Government agency, it is completely community owned and only receives a small amount of State Government funding each year, which means that the Marine Rescue volunteers are required to fundraise for as much as 75% its annual operating income.
The primary Search and Rescue Coordination centre for Port Macquarie is located at Port Macquarie Town Beach, with a secondary centre located at Buller Street, right next door to The Westport Club. Being a neighbour of The Westport Club, it is only natural that a strong affiliation would develop between Marine Rescue and the club; and over the years The Westport Club has donated furniture for their training area; repainted the boat shed after vandalism; and provided grants to help purchase equipment and build the new jetty.
Most recently, in 2016 The Westport Club provided funding of $150,000 to enable Port Macquarie Marine Rescue to replace ‘PM30’, their 17-year-old rescue vessel. Along with funding the purchase of the vessel, The Westport Club also committed to donating a further $5,000 per annum to assist in the upkeep of the boat over the following 3 years. The funding for the upkeep of the boat was able to be provided thanks to The Westport Club’s Community Grants program.
One of the biggest challenges faced by Marine Rescue Port Macquarie is finding opportunities to fundraise. To help overcome this hurdle, The Westport Club aims to assist the unit in any way it can by providing fundraising opportunities such as at the annual Christmas Under the Stars event. The Westport Club also gives Port Macquarie Marine Rescue all profits from the weekly Cash Housie promotion, equating to an estimated additional $4,000 in funding over the past 18 months.
A normal day for a Marine Rescue volunteer could include going on a Search and Rescue mission for people who have fallen overboard, towing a damaged or broken-down vessel back to safety, or even assisting to transport emergency services personnel to isolated locations. On a rare occasion volunteers might also be called upon to assist with a whale disentangling event. With so much going on, it’s no wonder that Marine Rescue are always on the hunt for new volunteers, either to work as operational crew or to help on dry land with fundraising. If either of these voluntary roles sounds like you, why not enquire about becoming a volunteer? It’s also a great way to meet new people, give back to your community and is guaranteed to help you feel a greater sense of belonging.
How you can help Marine Rescue Port Macquarie
Port Macquarie is a popular place to live and holiday, and with the population constantly growing, more and more people are out on the water each year. As Port Macquarie continues to grow, it is likely that the amount of water rescues required will increase and Marine Rescue will need more help from the community to stay afloat! Port Macquarie Marine Rescue accepts donations all year round and all you have to do is visit their website and you can donate online! No matter how big or small, your donation will go a long way to assist the unit in vessel maintenance costs, replacement and purchase of lifesaving equipment and building upkeep. With the help of all of us, Marine Rescue can continue to provide the local community with a strong, well-resourced emergency service. Donate now
Heading out on the water this weekend? There are a few things that you can do to make sure you don’t become one of Marine Rescue’s statistics!
- Before you head out, make sure your boat is in good working condition
- Ensure that everyone onboard is wearing a lifejacket
- Learn how to call for help – these include calling triple zero, using your marine radio or activating a radio distress beacon (EPERB).
The Marine Rescue Port Macquarie boats are fitted with state-of-the-art navigation, electronics, communication and first aid equipment, including lifesaving automatic defibrillators and oxygen therapy. Whenever you’re heading out on the water, make sure you use your marine radio to log on with your local MRNSW Port Macquarie Unit so someone responsible is keeping watch for you. If you don’t log off when you’re due back, Marine Rescue will swing into action to find you.