Marine Rescue NSW members have been dismayed by callous thieves who have set back the volunteers’ efforts to raise funds for their vital work to save lives on the water.
Marine Rescue Middle Harbour Unit Commander Peter Nott said thieves had stolen the motor from a 3.9m aluminium runabout that is the centrepiece of the unit’s annual raffle, damaging the boat in the process.
The raffle prize is a Quintrex 390 Explorer runabout fitted with a 9.9hp Mercury 4-stroke outboard on a registered Quintrex trailer, worth almost $9,000.
UC Nott said he had discovered the theft and damage to the boat, which was chained to a tree in a high-profile location on the grass foreshore next to the unit’s base on the eastern side of Spit Road, at 8.30pm on Monday.
“I noticed the motor was missing and on closer examination, found the thieves had also used a hacksaw to cut through the transom brace bracket to which the motor was locked so they could rip off the outboard,” he said.
“There is obviously a great deal of traffic on Spit Road and many pedestrians in the area, so if anyone passing saw any suspicious activity leading up to 8.30pm on Monday, I would ask them to immediately contact the police.
“It’s unbelievable that people could steal from volunteers who generously give their time and effort to help people who are in trouble on the water. Our members deserve thanks, not this slap in the face.
“This is a low act – and what’s worse, one that could put lives at risk. The money we raise from this raffle is helping us replace the 43-year-old inflatable rescue boat that has been crucial to our inshore rescue operations and to supporting events on the harbour.
“Our members have been putting in a tremendous effort with this raffle and people have been keen to snap up tickets for a chance to win such a great prize.
“We can’t raffle a damaged boat so MRNSW Headquarters is doing everything possible to secure us a new model of the same boat to raffle as soon as possible,” UC Nott said.
“People will still be able to buy tickets in the raffle but the prize won’t physically be on location until a new one is delivered.”