In The Beginning….. In the mid 1970’s before the freeway was complete the Pacific Highway was one of the deadliest stretches of road in New South Wales and with no specialized rescue unit on the Central Coast.
The officer in charge of police rescue, Ray Tyson, met with Wyong Shire council to discuss the need for the Central Coast to have its own rescue unit.
Not long after this meeting a small group of interested volunteers trained with the Lake Macquarie State Emergency Services Rescue Squad, but members found that to operate under the restrictions of the SES at the time would have inhibited the operations of the squad.
In July of 1975 a meeting with Mr Max Walters, President of the Volunteer Rescue Association resulted in the formation of the current rescue squad.
On the 18th July 1975 a public meeting was held and a basic constitution was agreed upon and The Central Coast Volunteer Rescue Squad was officially formed. After this the founding members of the squad took part in further training courses including the necessary first aid courses for affiliation with the VRA. .
A Working Agreement between the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard Association, Ku-ring-gai Flotilla and Terrigal Sea Rescue Service Inc was signed on 23rd June 1991, and further agreement was been signed on 17/19th November 2006 with Terrigal Sea Rescue Service and others to commence the establishment of AVCGA Flotillas.
On Sunday 29 March 2009, Terrigal Sea Rescue christened their new Category 3 rescue vessel “Mary George”. The build cost of the vessel was over A$180,000.00 with most of the funds being raised by the squad from sponsors, supporters and fund raising activities.
Here she is seen on her mooring in Terrigal Haven in July, 2009.
Subsequently, the State’s newest rescue service, Marine Rescue NSW was established in July 2009, with the support of the NSW Government. We officially took to the water on New Year’s Day 2010, backed by our volunteers’ decades of skill and experience. We are not a Government agency but a not-for-profit, community-based organisation.
The organisation brings together members from three former marine rescue organisations that had long served our community with distinction – the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard Association, Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol and Volunteer Rescue Association’s marine fleet – into a single integrated service.
The Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol was formed in 1937, following a suggestion from the Director of Naval Intelligence, Commander Rupert Long OBE RAN that a group of trained yachtsmen be formed as a Naval Auxiliary Service. All members were volunteers and in 2009 provided marine rescue services from 25 divisions in NSW. The Australian Volunteer Coast Guard Association was established in 1961. Modeled on the US Coast Guard Auxiliary, the Association had 17 bases in NSW. The marine branch of the NSW Volunteer Rescue Association was formed in 1969 and by 2009 comprised of 14 marine units in NSW, including Terrigal Sea Rescue.
In 2007, the State Government appointed the former Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, the Hon. John Price MP, to undertake a wide-ranging review of the delivery of volunteer marine rescue services in NSW.
This review, which included widespread consultation, identified that the cost of membership, operations and training, along with vessel and communication equipment replacement, was overtaking the ability of each organisation to recruit and adequately fundraise. The key recommendation of this report was the establishment of a single, consolidated marine rescue organisation. This was supported by the State Government, which appreciated the resource efficiencies and improved services that could be delivered to the boating community.
The Government provided a one-off capital payment of $3 million as seed funding to help with the cost of setting up the new service, including uniforms and corporate identification, as well as new or replacement vessels or equipment. Marine Rescue NSW was formally incorporated on July 1, 2009 and its operational launch was on January 1, 2010 with our volunteers taking to the water in new royal blue uniforms on vessels bearing our new distinctive red and white livery.
The organisation has continued to grow since that date, with more than 3,000 members now proudly part of Marine Rescue NSW.