Ballina’s new $428,000 Marine Rescue NSW offshore rescue vessel was officially commissioned yesterday.
Ballina Volunteer Marine Rescue (VMR) took delivery of the boat Ballina 30 (David Waddell) in November.
It replaces the rescue vessel that capsized during a hazardous rescue on the notorious Ballina bar on April 15, 2013.
The crew, Tony Handcock, David Nockolds and Rodney Guest, had gone to the rescue of two men on a disabled motor cruiser in turbulent three- to four-metre swells in the middle of the night.
The new boat is named in memory of the late David Waddell, a member of the former Ballina Australian Volunteer Coast Guard, who drowned on the bar in 1983.
Doing the honours was a trio of local MPs: Don Page, Geoff Provest and Kevin Hogan, together with VMR commissioner Stacey Tannos.
Mr Provest said the 10-metre Naiad could be deployed up to 30 nautical miles offshore, making it a valuable new marine search and rescue resource in the northern rivers region.
Ballina 30 is the fourth 10m Naiad in the MRNSW fleet and the second to feature more durable foam-filled solid, rather than inflated, sponsons (or buoyancy tubes).
The RHIB (Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat) is powered by twin 250hp four-stroke Suzuki outboard engines.
Ballina Unit Commander John Donoghue said Ballina 30 was ‘a faster response vessel with much more sophisticated radar, navigation and radio equipment, making us more effective than before’.
Commissioner Tannos acknowledged the support of the state government, saying, ‘boaters’ registration and licence fees provide about 50 per cent of the annual budget we need to provide NSW with a world-class marine search and rescue, radio network and education service for safer boating’.