The Victorian state government has announced a funding package of $11.3 million over the next two years will be made available to local Marine Search and Rescue (MSAR) services.
The funding will be used for the purchase of new vessels, equipment and protective clothing, as well as to cover fuel, training and other operating costs.
The volunteer service comprises 19 Coast Guard flotillas and 11 independent flotillas that provide rescue services along the Victorian coastline, in Port Phillip Bay and on inland waters including Lake Hume and Lake Eppalock.
Announcing the funding at the Launching Way boat launch at Carrum, the Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino said it was a crucial investment in the sector which would significantly reduce the fundraising burden on volunteers.
“This is a record investment in our Marine Search and Rescue volunteers,” he said.
“This boost will provide our volunteers with the vessels and equipment they need to keep Victorians safe on the water, as well as subsidising key operational costs, including fuel costs.”
The funding, which will be provided over the 2017-2018 and 2018-19 financial years, was welcomed by the Boating Industry Association of Victoria (BIAV) which had earlier accused the government of “dragging its feet” on delivering the necessary funding.
“The Andrews State Government has recognised the vital services provided by Victoria’s Marine Search and Rescue volunteers and delivered an unparalleled level of funding to the sector,” said BIAV president, Mark Crockford.
“The funding will certainly allow MSAR volunteers to effectively respond to marine emergencies, save lives and continue towards providing a leading volunteer search and rescue service.
“I know Victoria’s recreational boating community will rejoice at the announcement and I want to personally thank the Deputy Premier, EMV Commissioner Craig Lapsley and the over 800 volunteers who make up Victoria’s VMSAR flotillas,” he said.
This news story was written by www.marinebusiness.com.au/news