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Media Release

​Marine volunteers awarded for life-saving dedication
Sunday 10 September 2017 – 12:45 PM

Extraordinary acts of courage along our extensive coastline were recognised at the Volunteer Marine Rescue Service’s annual awards ceremony last night.

The 2017 Western Australian Volunteer Marine Rescue Service (VMRS) Awards was an opportunity for groups from across the State to honour fellow volunteers who have demonstrated exceptional dedication to the service, and to the safety of Western Australians over the past year.   

Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Wayne Gregson congratulated the 2017 Award recipients.

“The calibre of the award recipients is remarkable - they should be incredibly proud of their achievements and the esteem reflected in receiving such an accolade,” Commissioner Gregson said. 

“Marine Rescue Service volunteers play a vital role in keeping Western Australians out of harm’s way while on the water, and I’m delighted to have the opportunity to recognise their exceptional contribution to our State’s safety. 

“In just 12 months the Volunteer Marine Rescue groups attended more than 1,600 incidents and dedicated over 37,400 hours of their time to saving lives, developing skills, and educating communities across the State.”

Geraldton Volunteer Search and Rescue Group Vice-Commander and Training Officer Jamie Jones was presented with the DFES Award for Youth Achievement for the dedication and support he has shown his group, fellow volunteers and the greater marine community through promotion of marine safety, training, and exceptional conduct during rescue operations. 

Christine Heu, Commander of the Jurien Bay Volunteer Search and Rescue Group, took out the DFES Award for Outstanding Individual Contribution for her tireless commitment to ensuring the Group is well-resourced and equipped to provide exceptional marine rescue services to the region. 

The VMRWA Award for Outstanding Group Operations was presented to Coral Bay Volunteer Sea Search and Rescue for showing the utmost perseverance and unwavering dedication in a five day search effort for missing fishermen in May last year. 

The Cockburn Volunteer Sea Rescue Group were awarded the Department of Transport Award for Excellence in Marine Safety for their persistent promotion of marine safety initiatives to the public, and their skill, teamwork and bravery in keeping boaters safe over the past 12 months. 

The Commander’s Award was presented to long serving member of the Jurien Bay Volunteer Search and Rescue Group, Ian Stiles, for his extensive service to his Group, the local community and fellow volunteers. 

Marine rescue volunteers attend 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.  

If you are interested in joining your local VMRS, contact DFES’s Volunteer Recruitment Line on 1800 628 141. 

The recipients of the 2017 VMRS Awards are:

DFES Award for Youth Achievement or Contribution to Youth Development
Jamie Jones - Training Officer / Vice-Commander Geraldton Volunteer Search and Rescue 
Jamie joined Geraldton VSR in 2015 and hit the ground running, providing assistance in the running of the group. Jamie has proven his commitment to all facets of the Group’s operations, from skippering the rescue vessel, to raising their profile through community activities and social media. As Training Officer, Jamie has been instrumental in helping group members upgrade their skills while supporting the Group to make a smooth transition to the new DFES training pathways. 

DFES Award for Outstanding Individual Contribution
Christine Heu - Commander Jurien Bay Volunteer Search and Rescue
Chrissy’s dynamic drive has seen the Group’s response capabilities enhanced by identifying and managing large scale training opportunities and important asset upgrades. An active member of Jurien Bay VSR since 2005 and in her third year as Commander, Chrissy has indisputable commitment to boosting marine safety in the region. Chrissy is an energetic and inclusive leader, well-respected by the Group and the wider community.  

VMRWA Award for Outstanding Group Operations
Coral Bay Volunteer Sea Search and Rescue
The Coral Bay VSSRG was awarded for going above and beyond in their efforts in an extended multi-agency search. The Group used local knowledge and geographic expertise to assist Police throughout the operation. Coral Bay showed unwavering dedication to the community when they lead local search and rescue units made up of volunteers, commercial operators, locals and tourists, assisting in the coordination of up to 15 recreational vessels involved in the search. 

Department of Transport Award for Excellence in Marine Safety
Cockburn Sea Search and Rescue Group 
The Cockburn SSRG was recognised for their efforts to promote marine safety to the boating public operating in their local area. In the past 12 months the group has proactively supported marine safety education campaigns and initiatives, which have provided the public with valuable experience and knowledge regarding the importance and safe operation of safety equipment.

VMRWA Commander’s Award
Ian Stiles - Vice Commander Jurien Bay Volunteer Search and Rescue
Ian received recognition for his lifelong commitment to volunteering and his dedicated 10 years at Jurien Bay VSR. Ian continues to use his knowledge and experience to support fellow volunteers and to strengthen the service itself. Recently, Ian went well beyond his duties to become an approved trainer and assessor, allowing him to play an integral role in piloting the new DFES volunteer training pathways.

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


Media Contact: 

Monday onwards: DFES Media and Corporate Communications 9395 9543

Note to the editor: Photos of the award winners will be available on request.​


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