The Ballina Jet Boat Surf Rescue has become the first surf life saving service to be awarded a Maritime Medal, the highest honour to be bestowed by the agency.
An institution for almost 40 years on the far north coast, the Ballina Jet Boat and its dedicated surf life saving volunteers are often first on the scene of maritime emergencies, such as coastal bar crossing incidents, rock fishing mishaps and general boating distress situations.
The service has contributed more than 550 hours over the last two years, patrolling, performing search and rescue and attending emergency callouts.
In the last 12 months the service has responded to numerous overturned boat incidents on the Ballina Bar, rescued kayakers who’ve come to grief and, most recently, spent days searching for the missing Kenyan teenager who drowned at Cabarita last week.
The acquisition of a new jet boat last year has significantly enhanced the service’s ability to protect the local communities in the Ballina, Byron and Evans Head region.
SLSNSW lifesaving manager Dean Storey says the award is well deserved.
‘The Ballina Jet Boat service is central to our coastal safety efforts on the far north coast. The personnel who operate the service are all highly skilled, committed surf life savers and maritime rescue experts,’ he said.