A fleet of ten vessels representing Marine Rescue NSW put in a full day on Sydney Harbour assisting with management of the many Australia Day events that attract big crowds on the water. Five of the fleet had the new Marine Rescue colours, one was still wearing existing Coastal Patrol livery pending its refit and four vessels were in Australian Volunteer Coast Guard colours. One of the most important tasks on Australia Day is working with NSW Maritime and NSW Water Police to provide a moving exclusion zone between participants in the major events and the enthusiastic fleet of private boats that come to cheer them on. The ‘washing machine’ conditions created during the Ferrython is a spectacular sight but can be hazardous for small boats. It was pleasing to see skippers of private boats handling their craft responsibly and observing the safety requirements in place. This day is also used to demonstrate the volunteers’ work on the harbour to invited VIPs who this year comprised the directors of Marine Rescue NSW. The directors enjoyed the hospitality and experience of the 52ft Arun Encounter from Ulladulla. After the event-filled day on the harbour, Marine Rescue NSW was honoured by the State Government at the Australia Day Spectacular in Darling Harbour. Eight vessels and crews finished their long day with a sail-past in Cockle Bay before the Governor of NSW, Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir, the Premier of NSW, the Hon Kristina Keneally and a crowd of some 150,000. A dramatic rescue demonstration was staged for the crowd with Terry Joyce from Broken Bay unit “blowing up” his own boat with the driver, a NSW Water Police Diver, being thrown out of the boat into the water from where he was rescued by the Marine Rescue crew on B554 from Middle Harbour. A number of members of Marine Rescue NSW were also honoured at Cockle Bay where they were met by the Governor Professor Bashir and NSW Premier Keneally.
The sail-past fleet comprised 52ft Encounter from Ulladulla, 44ft Waveney Stratheden from Botany Bay, 34ft Steber Rescue 1 from Port Macquarie, 28ft Steber Peter E Weston from Broken Bay and B554 from Middle Harbour, all in Marine Rescue livery. They were supported by the 44ft Waveney Rawalpindi from MR Middle Harbour and CG11 and CG 12 from Coast Guard Birkenhead Point. Regrettably one vessel, Broken Bay’s RHIB BB10 missed out on playing its part on the day due to mindless vandalism that left her with one un-inflatable sponson that had been slashed the previous weekend and unable to be serviced in time. Original Article