17 July 2023

New leader an old hand at setting Marine Rescue unit's course

| Claire Sams
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marine rescue leader

Blaise Madden has returned to the role of Marine Rescue Tuross Moruya Unit Commander for a two-year term. Photo: Marine Rescue Tuross Moruya.

Returning to the job after an absence is a big decision for anyone, but Blaise Madden is up to the challenge.

He was recently elected Unit Commander of Marine Rescue Tuross Moruya for a two-year term and will take over from Alan Blessington.

Mr Madden previously served in the position from 2013-19.

He said that serving the community was at the heart of why he took on the responsibilities of being a Marine Rescue volunteer.

“I was a teacher for 40 years and I was taught to add more to the community I was in,” he said.

“When I came to the South Coast, Marine Rescue kindly accepted me into the ranks.”

Iain Palumbo and Darren Nicholls will serve as Deputy Unit Commanders alongside Mr Madden.

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Mr Madden’s election as Unit Commander came shortly after he was recognised with a service medal for his more than 10-year run as a Marine Rescue volunteer.

“As much as I’m appreciative of the medals and awards and things, they don’t really loom large in my life,” he said.

“Equally, if not more important, is working with the community.”

During that time, he also studied at TAFE to become a coxswain – a position on a boat crew that oversees navigation and steering – and served as the training officer for a time.

Mr Madden said the Marine Rescue unit had undergone several changes in that period.

“The unit has changed significantly,” he said.

“It had grown in members and had certainly become more organised as our program of training has improved markedly.

“We only had one coxswain and a few active crew members at the time when I started.”

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Mr Madden said he was proud of what Mr Blessington had accomplished in the role.

“By the end of Alan’s term, our monetary or financial capacity has increased considerably,” Mr Madden said.

“We’ve also had many new members join that had to be trained as crew.”

Now he has taken over the role, Mr Madden said he was looking forward to continuing to improve the capabilities of his unit.

Upgrading the rescue base at Tuross Head, replacing the unit’s vehicle and introducing groups to spread the workload are all on the horizon.

“We want to become more efficient and have a quicker response to getting out on the water and activations,” Mr Madden said.

Looking back on his time with Marine Rescue Tuross Moruya, he said he was proud of his fellow volunteers.

“I’m very proud of not only what the unit’s achieved, but the members,” he said.

“All the volunteers have a sense of tremendous camaraderie amongst them.

“While Tuross and Moruya aren’t the largest areas, we are welcoming of everyone and we work well together in Marine Rescue.”

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