New chapter opens in Merimbula Marine Rescue

Volunteers from Marine Rescue Merimbula celebrated a major milestone in their unit’s development with the official opening of their new $145,000 base in Merimbula’s Spencer Park on Saturday, June 14.

Merimbula Marine Rescue volunteers and special guests celebrate the official opening of the unit’s new base at Merimbula’s Spencer Park on Saturday. PHOTOS: Angi High Photography

Merimbula Marine Rescue volunteers and special guests celebrate the official opening of the unit’s new base at Merimbula’s Spencer Park on Saturday. PHOTOS: Angi High Photography

Volunteers from Marine Rescue Merimbula celebrated a major milestone in their unit’s development with the official opening of their new $145,000 base in Merimbula’s Spencer Park on Saturday, June 14.

The base was opened by Marine Rescue NSW Commissioner Stacey Tannos, who was joined by Bega Valley Shire Mayor Bill Taylor, Marine Rescue Board member Howard Staples, invited guests and unit members for the opening ceremony.  Also present was Barry Harrison, previous unit commander, who received the Emergency Services Medal in this year’s Queen’s Birthday honours.

The commissioner said that the base was the culmination of a several years’ planning and hard work by the unit’s building committee, the members’ fundraising efforts and the assistance of Bega Valley Shire Council with planning, approvals and lease arrangements.

“This operations and training centre will significantly enhance the unit’s ability to respond to boating emergencies along the Far South Coast, from Bermagui in the north to Eden in the south, and to provide effective on-site training for its members,” commissioner Tannos said.

“Not only has the unit’s building committee worked for some years to design this facility and secure the necessary approvals but the members have also put in countless hours’ effort to raise much of the funding for the development.”  

The commissioner also noted that the enhanced facility would allow for easier induction and training of new volunteers; while the unit’s strength has grown to around 40, there are opportunities for more interested people to join.

Unit Commander Bill Blakeman said: “For the first time since the unit’s commissioning, our volunteers now have a dedicated training facility, their own amenities and a modern radio communications room, along with storage for our equipment,” he said.  He also thanks sponsors and the local community for contributions through fundraising.  “None of this would have been possible without the generous support of the community” he said, and added “although we are now separated from the Fishing Club, they were central to the unit’s establishment and we hope to continue our cordially relationship with the club and its members in the future.” 

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