28 April 2023

Marine Rescue to receive new vessel for alpine lakes

| Gail Eastaway
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AL 20 Sailfish Cat

A new vessel is being prepared for use on alpine lakes in the Snowy Mountains region to replace the AL 20 Sailfish Cat pictured above. Photo: Marine Rescue NSW.

Marine Rescue Alpine Lakes will welcome a new 6.8 m Gray’s Marine and Welding vessel later this year which will help keep people safe on Lake Jindabyne and Eucumbene Dam.

The new rescue boat will have a full Raymarine suite, be powered by twin Suzuki 140 hp engines and replace the existing AL 20 Sailfish Cat, a 25-year-old vessel which was put into service in 2012 after being relocated from the RMS fleet.

According to Marine Rescue NSW Monaro zone duty operations manager Glenn Sullivan, the new vessel will improve rescue response time and is much easier to transport, when needed, as it can be towed.

The existing vessel can’t be towed on alpine roads without special permits and conditions.

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The new vessel will allow Marine Rescue to have a vessel available for both Lake Jindabyne and Lake Eucumbene.

Mr Sullivan said the vessel should be commissioned in time for the 2023 Snowy Mountains Trout Festival.

Virtual testing has commenced on the new Alpine Lakes 20 boat and Marine Rescue NSW senior manager fleet Kelvin Parkin recently visited Gray’s Marine and Welding on the NSW North Coast for a build update.

“Everything is progressing well, there’s no major hurdles or delays and we are very much looking forward to adding this vessel to our fleet,” Mr Parkin said.

“This is specifically built for the harsh environment they’ve got to deal with so even though it’s a smaller vessel it has a cabin which keeps the crew out of the elements.

“That means they can stay out on the water for longer when they need to conduct a search,” he said.

Mr Parkin said the bow had been strengthened on the vessel because of the large amount of shore work done by Marine Rescue NSW crews in the region.

“We’ve added a ladder to the front of that boat which folds out so if they need to access the shore they can beach the boat, walk off the front and get people on board through the front of the vessel without having to climb around the side or having to enter the cold waters up there on the lakes,” he said.

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Alpine Lakes 20 will also have a wider deck for maximum capability.

“If we have to have a patient on board we want to have as much space to be able to help that person whether it be blankets, basic first aid or to full cardiac arrest and support on that person on the back deck,” Mr Parkin said.

“That’s one of the reasons why we’ve really tried to increase the space or open up the boat as much as possible on the back deck.

“This new rescue boat will play a vital role in Marine Rescue’s mission of saving lives on the water,” Mr Parkin said.

AL 20 is due for completion before the end of the financial year and is one of 38 new rescue boats funded by the NSW Government’s $37.6 million investment in 2019 to support the vital, life-saving work of Marine Rescue NSW volunteers.

Marine Rescue NSW is a volunteer based not-for-profit professional organisation dedicated to keeping boaters safe on the water and supporting local communities.

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