Marine Rescue Middle Harbour’s workhorse, the Atlantic 21 RHIB, has been all over Sydney Harbour in March and April and now has a new stable. The Australian designed and built ‘Sea Pen’ has just been installed at the Marine Rescue Middle Harbour Base.
The pen hinges down below water level to allow the boat to be driven in. The rear of the pen raises and then a pump excludes all of the water in the pen leaving BB554N dry and resting on a woven web mat. The pump maintains the hull in a dry environment stopping marine growth and retarding corrosion.
At the end of March B-554-N was part of a large Marine Rescue NSW display at the Rosehill Boat Show mounted jointly by Marine Rescue Units from Middle Harbour and Botany Bay. The exhibit was visited by hundreds of visitors to the show and funds were raised for both units.
In April B-554-N was a safety boat for the ‘Swim for Cancer’ project at Balmoral Beach and again for paddlers around the harbour in the annual outrigger canoe carnival. She also escorted the Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton from Homebush Bay to the Opera House.
With Water Police permission, the Middle Harbour Unit has begun after dark security patrols of the mooring areas and marinas in and around Middle Harbour. The vessel shows its ‘Red’ and ‘Blue’ flashing lights to advertise its presence. This activity has been welcomed by the authorities and the local User Group.
A key task for B-554-N was the arrival of Jessica Watson in Sydney on May 15. The RHIB was used to transfer ‘around the world sailors’ Mike Perham and Jesse Martin to Ella’s Pink Lady after she crossed the finish line, and then to transfer a TEN 10 camera crew to Pink Lady. Members of the unit were also in the berthing party when Pink Lady berthed at the Opera House steps.
Of course, our main task is providing emergency assistance for boats and for their occupants. At the end of April, and in darkness, whilst carrying out an alongside tow of an 11.0m cruiser we were tasked to pick up a 13m trawler drifting off Grotto Point. With both vessels on a stern tow, they were towed through the Spit Bridge and returned to their moorings. Our 7.0m RHIB is certainly a real workhorse.