CYCA SOLAS Trusts donate $16,500 to rescue helicopter

Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service (Hunter Region) is the latest recipient of a donation from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia Sydney Hobart Yacht Race Safety of Life at Sea Trusts (SOLAS).

A cheque for $16,650 was donated to Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service (Hunter Region) for the purchase of nine new water rescue harnesses. Each crewman is issued with a harness as a personal piece of equipment so that it can be set up accordingly to his/her size and dimensions. These items increase the training capability of the service and improve the safety of crew members and those being rescued.

Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service is a community owned and operated aeromedical search and rescue service, serving the Hunter, Central Coast, Mid North Coast, New England and North West regions. It is one of six helicopter services contracted by NSW Health to perform emergency services in the New South Wales community. The Helicopter Service provides a free service to over one million people, covering a region of 132,000 square kilometres. Each year the Helicopter Service performs over 1200 missions, rescuing people from accident scenes and transporting critically ill patients from small, rural hospitals to large tertiary hospitals, primarily the John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle and the Base Hospital in Tamworth.

In making this donation, CYCA SOLAS Trusts Chairman, Matt Allen said “We are pleased that the CYCA SOLAS Trusts can continue to support the vital Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service operations. The water rescue harnesses are a vital piece of equipment for service crew members and the public they are rescuing. Saltwater is often not kind to this equipment so constant maintenance and replacement is essential for crew and public safety.”

“SOLAS continues to actively contribute to key emergency medical services and search & rescue organizations. Due to the nature of ocean racing and other outdoor recreational activities, our emergency medical services are vital in saving lives,” added Matt Allen.

General Manager of the Service Richard Jones said that the donation from SOLAS was an important contribution to the Rescue Swimmer Program for the Service's crewmen. “Water rescues are some of the riskiest jobs that our crews undertake. Often they are in treacherous conditions so the quality of our gear is very important to us. We appreciate the support of SOLAS and look forward to a fruitful relationship with the CYCA.”

One of the CYCA's SOLAS Trusts objectives is to assist search and rescue organisations Australia wide. In the nine years since it was established, in excess of $450,000 has been donated to 15 organisations in every Australian state as well as the ACT. This is the ninth NSW donation. Other NSW organisations to benefit from CYCA SOLAS Trusts donations are NRMA Careflight (NSW), Snowy Hydro SouthCare Aero Medical and Rescue Helicopter Service, Volunteer Coast Guard Bermagui, Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol Sydney & Tuggerah Lakes Divisions, Volunteer Rescue Association Nambucca Heads, St. Vincent's Hospital, and RVCP Eden Division.

About CYCA Sydney Hobart Yacht Race SOLAS Trusts
CYCA Sydney Hobart Yacht Race Safety of Life at Sea Trusts (SOLAS) was set up as a charitable trust in 1999 as a result of the tragic events of the 1998 Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. The CYCA SOLAS Trusts objectives are to:
? Provide assistance (financial and other) to immediate families of those lost at sea during Australian Yachting Federation sanctioned races
? Make donations and provide support to search and rescue organisations
? Foster and fund research and training to improve safety and rescue procedures and equipment used in ocean races.
To make a donation to SOLAS please log on to www.cyca.com.au, go to ‘About us' and then click on CYCA Sydney Hobart Yacht Race Safety of Life as Sea Trusts link.

About the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia
The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA) is Australia's premier yacht club and home of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. The CYCA was established in 1944 and over the years has become Australia's leading exponent of ocean racing and sea safety. Its race management expertise is often called upon for other international sailing events such as the Olympics and round-the-world races. Nestled along the beautiful Rushcutters Bay foreshore, the club enjoys stunning harbour views and world-class facilities and offers its 2,700 plus members and many visitors plenty of excuses to visit regularly. The CYCA caters for the most passionate ocean racer to the social sailor with a full calendar of mid-week summer twilight and weekend offshore racing and Sunday winter racing. The CYCA also runs a world-class Youth Sailing Academy which caters for those learning to sail through to advance courses, and international match racing.

– Jennifer Crooks

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