21 April 2023

Emergency Services Medal recognises dedicated Bermagui Marine Rescue commander

| Katrina Condie
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Woman on boat

Marine Rescue Bermagui Unit Commander Caron Parfitt ESM will be awarded the Emergency Services Medal in Canberra. Photo: MRNSW.

One of Marine Rescue NSW’s first female coxswains, Bermagui Unit Commander Caron Parfitt ESM received the Emergency Services Medal from Governor-General David Hurley AC DSC (Retd) on Friday (21 April).

Just over 10 months after being named on the 2022 Queen’s Birthday Honours list, MS Parfitt has been presented with the medal at Government House in Canberra.

Ms Parfitt was recognised last June for her decade of service to Marine Rescue NSW and the local community but was unable to attend the September ceremony because of a long-standing travel commitment.

The unit commander has recorded hundreds of hours of sea time and is a skilled and respected rescue vessel master who makes herself available around the clock to respond to emergencies on the water.

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She has conducted numerous rescue missions, often in dark and dangerous conditions, returning those in trouble safely to their family and friends.

During the 2019-20 bushfire emergency on the South Coast, Ms Parfitt was tasked to be in operational readiness to assist with water evacuations and liaised with local surf clubs during the evacuation process.

Marine Rescue NSW Commissioner Alex Barrell will attend Ms Parfitt’s investiture ceremony.

“Caron’s been an outstanding member of Marine Rescue for just on a decade now, and to have a female leader of her calibre amongst our ranks is a real asset for Marine Rescue,” Mr Barrell said.

Ms Parfitt said Marine Rescue was a great fit for her when she moved to Bermagui in 2013.

“I’m a keen sailor and wanted to volunteer for an organisation where I could make a difference with like-minded people,” she said.

“I feel so humbled and honoured to receive this award and very privileged to be part of the Marine Rescue Bermagui team.

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“I’m just one of a team of volunteers who all do amazing work to help save lives on the water.”

With the ANZAC Day weekend approaching, Ms Parfitt is urging boaters to remember safety first.

“My message to boaters is simple. Safety first and always log on and log off with Marine Rescue,” she said.

“I encourage all boaters to check their boat and weather before heading out and when in doubt, stay home.”

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