The State Government is contributing $300,000 towards a major upgrade of the South Australian Sea Rescue Squadron (SASRS) headquarters at West Beach, to create a state-of-the-art base for marine rescue training in South Australia.

As one of six Volunteer Marine Rescue (VMR) Associations in South Australia, who each provide crucial 24-hour response support to marine emergencies, SASRS has almost 700 volunteers, with 170 performing marine search and rescue duties.

The $675,000 project at the West Beach headquarters will include a major upgrade to training and administration facilities, which will also be utilised by other VMR Associations across the state.

Better training and resources will help boost volunteer skills and safety – where rescues are often undertaken in harsh, isolated and dangerous environments.

Emergency Services Minister Chris Picton today thanked every volunteer across the State’s marine rescue associations for their dedication to the safety of water-users.

The upgraded facility will also be used to attract increased public participation in boating safety and marine radio education courses.

Background

The SA Sea Rescue Squadron headquarters at West Beach were built in 1969, with gradual refurbishments undertaken since then.

As the largest of the State’s six VMR associations, the Sea Rescue Squadron has four flotilla located at Wirinna, Edithburgh and the Copper Coast (Wallaroo), with the largest facility being this one at West Beach.

The six VMR Associations are the SA Sea Rescue Squadron; Australian Volunteer Coast Guard; Cowell Sea Rescue; Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol; Victor Harbor-Goolwa Sea Rescue; and Whyalla Sea Rescue.

In addition to providing a marine rescue capability, the SARS also operates a number of volunteer radio bases around the coastline of South Australia, with the main radio base operating from Adelaide Shores at West Beach. This base operated on a 7-day basis, daily from 07.00 am to 07.00 pm with volunteers performing 6 hour shifts on a rotational basis.

Quotes attributable to Emergency Services Minister Chris Picton

The State Government sincerely appreciates each and every person who contributes their time, effort and skills to keeping our coastlines safe.

The work of the hundreds of volunteers who are part of the Sea Rescue Squadron is second to none and they deserve the best facilities we can provide.

I congratulate the Sea Rescue Squadron on their fantastic fundraising efforts and it is my pleasure to be able to announce the Government’s contribution of $300,000 towards the upgrade at the West Beach headquarters.

This upgrade will not only improve resources – particularly around training – but can help attract even more people to learn vital skills associated with marine rescue.

Quotes attributable to Labor Candidate for Colton Angela Vaughan 

I am very pleased that the State Government is assisting the Sea Rescue Squadron to upgrade their facilities at West Beach.

The Squadron’s round-the-clock marine rescue capability provides an invaluable service protecting our boating and fishing community and it is a credit to the dedicated Squadron volunteers for all the time and energy they invest.

The public education the Squadron undertakes also ensures the community has the appropriate skills and awareness to keep them safe while enjoying all our beautiful coastline has to offer.

Quotes attributable to Sea Rescue Squadron Commodore Al Cormack

Whilst the State Government provides a significant annual grant to enable the Squadron to maintain a highly efficient volunteer marine rescue service to the recreational & fishing community of SA, it is also extremely important that our rescue volunteers are trained to a high level to ensure both their safety and to those that are rescued.

The training room has served the Squadron well over the years but is now in need of a major upgrade.

The Squadron’s now required to comply with new training and standards as directed by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority and the new training facility which will also be offered for use by other VMR Associations is critical to ensure the Squadrons training is at the required level.

Also there is increasing demand for the Squadrons “Seamanship” and “Radio Procedures” training courses that are conducted by senior Squadron members to the general public. This is very important particularly to new boat owners.

The Squadron volunteer members who are on call 24 hours/365 days per year, are most grateful for the support from the Government and this will be an outcome that benefits both our volunteers but also the boating public of SA.