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Media Release

Marine Rescue volunteers recognised for seaworthy contributions
Sunday 18 October 2020 – 10:00 AM

​A Rockingham volunteer who dedicated countless hours of personal time to the growth and development of his marine rescue group was among a list of outstanding winners at the 2020 WA Marine Rescue Awards held in Perth last night.

Graham Martin, of Marine Rescue Rockingham, received the Award for Outstanding Individual Contribution in recognition of his exemplary service over the last decade.

Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm AFSM said that with more than 10,000 kilometres of coastline in Western Australia, Marine Rescue groups have a critical role to play in keeping the community safe.

“Marine Rescue volunteers provide an essential service to our community – they are often the first responders in a crisis at sea and contribute to life-saving operations throughout the year,” Commissioner Klemm said. 

“They are also an invaluable source of local knowledge and work behind the scenes to educate the boating community, recruit new members and undertake extensive training to equip them with the skills to complete complex water rescues.

“The 2020 winners of the WA Marine Rescue Awards have all demonstrated outstanding commitment to their role of keeping Western Australians safe on our oceans and waterways, which is an intrinsic part of our lifestyle in this State.”

Other recipients included Marine Rescue groups from Coral Bay and Exmouth, who shared the Award for Outstanding Group Operations for their response to a capsized vessel earlier this year.

The crew of a commercial fishing boat, Nebraska II, received the Volunteer Marine Rescue WA Commander Award for rescuing a swimmer who had been swept out to sea near Kalbarri.

Thomas Knight, 20, of Marine Rescue Port Walcott received the Award for Youth Achievement for his outstanding contributions to the remote Pilbara group.

Marine Rescue Naturaliste received the Department of Transport Award for Marine Safety for their commitment to maintaining their website with marine, weather, tide and safety information.

The 2020 Marine Rescue Awards recipients are:

Award for Outstanding Group Operations
Marine Rescue Coral Bay and Marine Rescue Exmouth
When a vessel capsized in Coral Bay, Marine Rescue Coral Bay were the first to respond. They took control of the incident until Water Police arrived from Exmouth and commenced an extensive search through the night. At first light the next day, Marine Rescue Exmouth arrived on the scene and retrieved the capsized vessel.  Both volunteer groups worked collaboratively, using their training and knowledge of local waters to assist Water Police with the operation. Two people from the capsized vessel tragically died during this incident.

Award for Outstanding Individual Contribution
Graham Martin, Marine Rescue Rockingham
In his nine years of volunteer service at Marine Rescue Rockingham, Graham has had a profound impact. He is a volunteer skipper, radio operator and trainer and liaises with key stakeholders. Graham has been responsible for a series of upgrades for the group by obtaining building permits and council approvals, submitting grant applications and procuring a new marine vessel. Graham leads by example and mentors the group’s younger volunteers.

Award for Youth Achievement
Thomas Knight, Marine Rescue Port Walcott
At just 20 years of age, Tom is a reliable and eager volunteer at Marine Rescue Port Walcott, near Roebourne. He has provided outstanding support during marine incidents and has worked as a skipper, navigator and second-in-command for vessel recoveries. His work behind the scenes has included recruiting new volunteers, assisting at open days and taking on committee roles. Tom has been keen to undertake additional training to further his marine rescue role.

Volunteer Marine Rescue WA Commander Award
Vaughn Ralph and the crew of the Nebraska II
The crew of the commercial fishing boat rescued a distressed swimmer who had been swept out to sea in Kalbarri. While caught in strong currents, the woman had managed to grasp onto a channel marker. The passing fishing boat assisted the woman, with the crew holding the boat in position and skipper Vaughn Ralph swimming to the channel marker. He helped the woman on to the fishing boat and back to safety.

Department of Transport Award for Excellence in Marine Safety
Marine Rescue Naturaliste
The Quindalup boat ramp is one of the busiest in the region and Marine Rescue Naturaliste provide an essential service for local and visiting boaters. The group maintain their website as a source of marine, weather, tide and safety information. The volunteers also provide a training and assessment service for the Recreational Skipper Ticket. Funding from the Recreational Skipper Ticket program helped purchase an additional rescue vessel to improve the group’s response to marine emergencies.

For more information about the 2020 Marine Rescue Awards visit dfes.wa.gov.au/awards

Media Contact: DFES Media and Corporate Communications 9395 9543


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