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Media Release

WA’s excellent marine rescue volunteers in the spotlight
Sunday 11 September 2016 – 10:30 AM

Marine rescue service volunteers who led the search for a young diver missing off the Pilbara coast were one of many groups recognised last night for their outstanding contributions to protecting and saving lives at sea.

After a big year, involving more than 1400 marine rescue incidents across the State, the 2016 Volunteer Marine Rescue Services Awards were presented across five categories.

The Port Walcott Sea Search and Rescue Team won the VMRWA Group Operations Award for their outstanding leadership coordinating a search and rescue mission for a missing diver off Delambre Island in the Pilbara. 

Lancelin Sea Search and Rescue Group were recognised for their expertise implementing safety measures for international wind surfing event, the Lancelin Ocean Classic which attracted hundreds of competitors. 

Busselton Volunteer Marine Rescue (VMR) Group member Ryan Godfrey, Mandurah VMR Group member Barb Walton and the Walpole VMR Group also won for their dedication to marine safety, including in training, group management and contributing to community awareness programs. 

Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Wayne Gregson said marine rescue volunteers continually put themselves on the line to save lives at sea and applauded the 2016 award recipients. 

“These awards are homage to the hard work and commitment of our marine rescue volunteers, who attend many incidents each year that result in the returning of a loved one to their family,” Commissioner Gregson said.    

“The recipients should be extremely proud of what they do on an ongoing basis to keep Western Australians safe on the water.

“The marine rescue service is a critical part of our emergency response capability and these volunteers are a reflection of the calibre of the people we have, out there saving lives every week.”

Marine rescue volunteers respond to a range of incidents including search and rescue missions for lost people and vessels at sea, assisting vessels in trouble to shore and recovering grounded and submerged vessels. 

The recipients of the 2016 VMRS Awards are: 

VMRWA Award for Outstanding Group Operations
Port Walcott Sea Search and Rescue
The Port Walcott Sea Search and Rescue was recognised for their leadership skills and professionalism coordinating a search and rescue operation for a missing diver north west of Delambre Island, in the Pilbara in June 2015. Working throughout the night and into the next morning in conjunction with WA Police and private and commercial vessels, the diver was successfully found on Delambre Island and was safely transferred back to Port Walcott.

DFES Award for Outstanding Individual Contribution
Barb Walton, Mandurah Volunteer Marine Rescue 
Barb has been a dedicated volunteer with Mandurah VMR for 14 years. In that time she has performed an array of operational, committee and support roles for both the Mandurah VMR and VMRWA Association and is a mentor to many. She also represents the group at numerous community events, raising the profile of VMR and promoting marine safety.

DFES Award for Youth Achievement or Contribution to Youth Development 
Ryan Godfrey, Busselton Volunteer Marine Rescue Group  
After completing four years as a Cadet, Ryan joined Busselton VMR Group and has proved himself to be a dedicated and reliable crew member. Ryan has completed extensive competency training, including a week on board the Leeuwin Vessel. He has also contributed towards community awareness programs and fundraising activities.

VMRWA Commander Award 
Lancelin Sea Search and Rescue Group
The Lancelin Sea Search and Rescue Group was recognised for their achievements over the past year which included  implementing safety measures for the international wind surfing event, the Lancelin Ocean Classic, assisting with the construction of its new operations base and responding to several high profile rescues. 

Department of Transport Award for Excellence in Marine Safety
Walpole Volunteer Marine Rescue Group
The Walpole Volunteer Marine Rescue Group was recognised for their ongoing efforts to promote marine safety, including organising the annual l search and rescue exercise. This is testament to their strong working relationships with partner agencies including WA Police, the Department of Transport and other emergency services. 

For more information about the VMRS Awards visit www.dfes.wa.gov.au/awards 


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