Boat bolsters rescue group

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times
Bunbury Sea Rescue skippers Brett Ladhams and Dave Manoni inspect the crew’s new vessel.
Camera IconBunbury Sea Rescue skippers Brett Ladhams and Dave Manoni inspect the crew’s new vessel. Credit: Kate Fielding / South Western Times

Bunbury Sea Rescue volunteers are better equipped than ever ahead of summer after taking delivery of their newest vessel.

The brand new 7.5m Air Rider has been in the pipeline for more than a year after the Bunbury rescue group had to retire one of the vessels in its fleet.

The boat has been aptly named Dingo Marley, which skipper Brett Ladhams said was inspired by a popular resident of the Outer Harbour.

“The Dingo Marley name comes from the friendly dingo roaming the Outer Harbour in Bunbury,” Mr Ladhams said.

“We had a shortlist of names and on the morning we voted, Marley popped her head into our base, which was an obvious sign.”

The outer harbour’s resident dingo Marley.
Camera IconThe outer harbour’s resident dingo Marley.

Fitted with the latest technology such as infrared camera, satellite phone, tracking systems, radar and communication gear, the $270,000 boat is a crucial addition to the crew, Mr Ladhams said.

“It is one of the first of its kind and is small enough to handle inshore and estuary work but capable enough to tackle the rough stuff offshore,” he said.

“Along with several other marine rescue groups around the State, we were lucky to need a new boat at the same time the sector received State Government funding, so this boat was fully funded through the Department of Fire and Emergency Services.

“This boat will be a critical back-up to our existing 11m cat for call outs, and will be a vital tool for training our members.”

The boat is fitted with the usual rescue equipment, with top navigation, emergency gear and twin engines.

In a coup for the State’s regional marine industry, the boat was built by Westerberg Marine in Albany.

“We chose to have it built in Albany due to the reputation of the Westerberg Marine team down there, who are very experienced with customised aluminium boats,” Mr Ladhams said.

“Most sea rescue groups have theirs built in Perth.”

Mr Ladhams also said the vessel was setting the trend for crews across the State.

“This boat is the first in the State to get the new colour scheme and livery, recently developed by DFES, which will influence all rescue boats around the State, which is pretty exciting for Bunbury,” he said.

Delivery of the boat could not be better timed, with the crew already having a number of call outs as the weather started to warm up.

“We’ve had a busy start to spring so the arrival of this boat has come at just the right time,” Mr Ladhams said.

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