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Media Release

​Marine Rescue volunteers celebrated for excelling at sea and on land
Saturday 8 September 2018 – 8:00 AM

One of Australia’s busiest marine groups, Fremantle Sea Rescue has been awarded the Volunteer Marine Rescue Service (VMRS) Team Award for leading the way in adapting cutting-edge marine search and rescue technology to remotely monitor 11 marine radio channels from any smart device in the world. 

The Fremantle Sea Rescue Group has also dedicated hundreds of hours to securing the lease and necessary funding to restore a 1950’s naval communications tower at Cantonment Hill, which is now their new base while maintaining support for community events such as the Rottnest Channel Swim. 

The 2018 VMRS Awards were announced at the inaugural Fire and Emergency Services Awards ceremony held last night.

The awards honoured VRMS volunteers and groups who exceeded expectations over the past year to protect WA’s 13,000 kilometre stretch of pristine coastline. 

Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm AFSM commended marine volunteers for their outstanding dedication to protecting life at sea. 

“In the past 12 months, Volunteer Marine Rescue groups have dedicated more than 105,000 hours of their time responding to 1,400 incidents at sea - this doesn’t even factor in the countless hours they commit to training and community education,” Commissioner Klemm said. 

“This vital service will be enhanced by the State’s Government’s record investment of $19.5 million over four years that will go towards fit-for-purpose buildings, towing vehicles, trailers, radio communication infrastructure, and specialist marine rescue and safety equipment.

“Congratulations to all award nominees and winners – you are a role model to your community and should be very proud of your achievements and service to WA.”

Volunteer Marine Rescue WA Commander Jeff Howe took out the DFES Award for Outstanding Individual Contribution for his staunch support of VMR groups. In recent times this included helping groups transition to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s (AMSA) National Standard for Commercial Vessels and facilitating VMR groups joining DFES, with WA one of the few states to have all VMR groups under the one banner. 

The Commander’s Award went to the Volunteer Marine Rescue Service Training Group for their tireless work developing, delivering and streamlining a compliant VMRS training package. Eight individuals from various VMRS groups worked to progress the package while continuing to undertake their normal voluntary duties. 

Port Hedland Volunteer Sea Rescue Group were awarded the Department of Transport Award for Excellence in Marine Safety for supporting and delivering events and activities that educate the boating community about how to keep safe and take action in the event of a marine emergency. 

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 2018 VMRS Awards are:

DFES Award for Outstanding Individual Contribution

Jeff Howe ESM – Volunteer Marine Rescue WA Commander 

As the spokesperson for Marine Rescue in WA, Jeff has been a steadfast supporter of VMR volunteers and promoting marine safety education. This includes supporting VMR groups to transition to the National Standard for Commercial Vessels that provides a common standard for the design, construction, crewing and operation of vessels. Jeff was also recognised for his vital role in the process of VMR groups joining DFES, with WA one of the few States to have all VMR groups under the one banner. 

VMRWA Award for Outstanding Group Operations

Fremantle Sea Rescue Group 

Fremantle Sea Rescue Group, one of Australia’s busiest marine rescue groups, has lead the way in the adoption and implementation of Marine Search and Rescue technology. The group, who answer over 30,000 calls per year have installed state-of-the-art WAVE Radio over Internet Protocol (RoIP) technology allowing the group to monitor and transmit 11 marine radio channels from any smart phone, tablet or computer anywhere in the world. They also dedicated their time to secure the lease and necessary funding to restore a 1950’s naval communications tower at Cantonment Hill, which is now their new base. This is while maintaining their support of community events like the Rottnest Channel Swim and Port to Pub swim. 

VMRWA Commander’s Award

Volunteer Marine Rescue Training Group 

The VMR Training Group has worked tirelessly to develop an inaugural VMR Training Package compliant with the requirements of AMSA. Eight volunteers from VMR groups across WA committed hours of their time, on top of their normal group contributions, to progress and streamline the package. The package delivers a staged training program which supports volunteer marine qualifications and continues to improve and develop their skills and safety at sea. 

Department of Transport Award for Excellence in Marine Safety

Port Hedland Volunteer Marine Rescue

In partnership with the Department of Transport, Port Hedland Volunteer Marine Rescue has proactively delivered community events including flare demonstrations to empower the community to prepare for and respond to emergencies at sea. The group has participated in educational activities in support of Department of Transport Marine Safety Officer and have proactively utilised social media to further promote key safety messages.  

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

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