Base heralds new era for sea rescue

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Jakeb WaddellBroome Advertiser

One of Broome’s most vital volunteer organisations celebrated a milestone last week, when its ultramodern headquarters officially opened its doors.

Politicians, business partners, supporters and guests united at Entrance Point last Monday as the Broome Volunteer Sea Rescue Group unveiled the new building from which it will run its operations.

The million-dollar facility, which aims to reduce search and rescue response times by about 20 minutes, was completed last November, with a storage shed, operations area and support room, as well as a 7.7m rescue vessel.

Given the scope of the volunteer group’s work, Commander Brett Winfield said the need for the facility was never in question.

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In the past year, volunteers responded to 18 search and rescue incidents, all of which were successfully completed.

The 33 members undertook a collective 648 hours of training missions and each committed time ranging from three hours a month to 20 hours a week.

In his address to attendees, Cdr Winfield said the headquarters was the result of “literally thousands of hours of voluntary work”.

“The facility has greatly enhanced the efficiency and effectiveness of our vital volunteer emergency service,” he said.

“Not only will it reduce response time, but it provides a purpose-specific base to co-ordinate search and rescue activities, improve safety and effectiveness and safely store our vessels and equipment.

“It has also allowed for the expansion of the volunteer group into a well-resourced rescue organisation, in response to Broome’s growing population.”

Among those in attendance at the opening were Senator Patrick Dodson and Member for the Kimberley Melissa Price, who officially opened the building.

Senator Dodson said there was “no doubt about the need for a sea rescue facility” in a town such as Broome.

“I wish (the BVSRG) well and congratulate all who have played a part in bringing it to fruition,” he said.

The Federal Government provided $500,000 of funding for the building, with the State Government investing $450,000 and Lotterywest the remaining $128,000.

Construction of the headquarters began in January last year and the building was ready for use by November. Kimberley Ports Authority, Nyamba Buru Yawuru, Shire of Broome and the Department of Emergency Services worked closely with Broome Sea Rescue throughout the project and were represented at the opening.

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