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Volunteer Marine Rescue WA receives CYCA SOLAS Trusts grant

by Jennifer Crooks on 20 Mar 2013
Yachting WA President Doug Kerr presents Commander Jeff Howe with a cheque from the CYCA SOLAS Trusts Bernie Kaaks
CYCA SOLAS Trusts has provided Volunteer Marine Rescue Western Australia (VMRWA), with $13,318.20 to fund nine Mustang water rescue dry suits, nine ICOM waterproof and floating VHF handheld radios and nine Gath helmets.

These items will be distributed evenly between the Augusta, Margaret River and Kalbarri Volunteer Marine Rescue units. VMRWA comprises of 36 groups around the Western Australian coastline with some 1300 volunteer members that dedicate their time to marine rescue activities from manning vessels and radio rooms, through to keeping volunteers engaged in extended marine searches supplied with meals and hot drinks. VMRWA through the 36 VMR Groups provide coverage for over 85% of Western Australia’s 13,500 kilometres of coastline.

Volunteer Marine Rescue Western Australia Commander Jeff Howe said these items would assist VMRWA volunteers, in particular the jet ski teams, to service the needs of their volunteers and also benefit the wider community.

The VMRWA jet ski rescue teams were put in place to provide a search and rescue response where there are dangerous river conditions with hazardous bar crossings and where the more traditional VMR resources cannot be deployed easily to search rugged coastal areas.

'Over the last twelve months, the three VMR Groups that will benefit from these resources, have carried out a total of 56 search and rescue incidents where the jet skis made a significant contribution. The VMRWA has a strong affiliation with both the Department for Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) and the West Australian Police (WAPOL),' Commander Howe said.

'VMRWA in conjunction with all 36 VMR Groups throughout WA would like to thank the CYCA SOLAS Trust for their very kind donation that will provide vital Protective Equipment for our volunteers.'

CYCA SOLAS Trusts Chairman Matt Allen announced the funding, which is the second donation made to a Western Australian search and rescue organisation.

'Volunteer marine search and rescue organisations are the lifeblood of the Australian community, providing vital services to the community at large. We trust this donation will provide the Augusta, Margaret River and Kalbarri Volunteer Marine Rescue units the necessary equipment required to undertake marine rescues and to continue their integral community role,' Chairman Allen said.

'The CYCA SOLAS Trusts continues to actively contribute to key volunteer marine, search and rescue organizations Australia-wide,' Allen said.

The CYCA Sydney Hobart Yacht Race Safety of Life at Sea Trusts (SOLAS) was set up as a charitable trust in 1999 as a result of the tragic events of the 1998 Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. The CYCA SOLAS Trusts objectives are to:

• Provide assistance (financial and other) to immediate families of those lost at sea during Yachting Australia sanctioned races
• Make donations and provide support to search and rescue organisations
• Foster and fund research and training to improve safety and rescue procedures and equipment used in ocean races.

Since they were established in 1998 following the loss of life in the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race that year, the Trusts have donated more than $806,800 to organisations in New South Wales, Tasmania, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia and the ACT, and the Trusts continues to explore new organisations to Cruising Yacht Club of Australia
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