The Victorian government has announced that four marine search and rescue units in Victoria’s south-west will receive new boats as part of the $11.3 million funding package unveiled late last year.
The four rescue units are Port Fairy Marine Rescue Service, Port Campbell Surf Life Saving Club, Portland Surf Life Saving Club and Apollo Bay Ocean Rescue.
The funding program includes more than $6.5 million for new search-and-rescue vessels as well as more than $4.75 million in operational funding to cover essential costs such as training, fuel, protective clothing, maintenance, equipment and insurance.
Further vessel replacement announcements will be made in the coming weeks.
“Today’s announcement is part of our record $11.3 million investment in the MSAR sector,” said James Merlino, Minister for Emergency Services. “This significant commitment will also help build volunteer capability, recognising the wonderful efforts of MSAR providers across the state.”
There are almost 800 MSAR volunteers in Victoria who respond to about 1,300 marine incidents every year. Emergency Management Victoria commissioner Craig Lapsley said the funding will help volunteers respond to marine incidents more effectively.
“Victoria's marine search and rescue capability is an important part of the emergency management sector and this funding boost recognises that dedication,” he said. “The funding will greatly assist in operating costs, but also make a difference in training and supporting volunteers to build capability.”
Emergency Management Victoria has already begun the process of buying the new rescue vessels with tenders expected to be called for later this month.