Marine Rescue NSW deputy commissioner and director of operations Dean Storey visited the local Eden unit on Tuesday, as part of a tour of the Monaro region.
Mr Storey and fleet officer Jody Hollow are in the local area for three days, taking the opportunity to witness the Monaro units operate first-hand, and to look at how Marine Rescue NSW can provide additional support.
Mr Storey said the trip marks his first visit to the Eden station, 11 months into his role as deputy commissioner.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to travel down and meet the team here at Eden; it’s a great part of the coast and I’m already looking forward to getting back down here,” he said.
“It’s quite a fundamental service to the community and also to the state.
“In a lot of respects, they are the sharp end of the spear; the first and last line of defence when it comes to safety in NSW waters.”
Mr Storey praised the work of the local unit, which is entirely volunteer-run.
He said the volunteer spirit in local communities like Eden is what Australia is built on.
“They do a standout job, commit a lot of hours and go through a lot of training; we really appreciate what they do, and we’re sure the community does as well,” he said.
“Our country is really held up by the efforts of our volunteers across all our emergency services and community organisations; we couldn’t be the country we are without them.
“They are part of who we are, which is why we’re here to show our support and thank them for what they do, and to really look at what other opportunities we can find to provide more support.”
He said that it is too early to guarantee any particular ways that Marine Rescue NSW will provide additional support to the Eden unit, but radio communication is one aspect of the local operation that will be looked at.
Outgoing Marine Rescue Eden unit commander John Steele said it is pleasing to see the deputy commissioner and fleet officer make the effort to travel down.
“They can see any of our problems first-hand; you can put it on paper and send it up all you like, but getting hands-on experience and seeing what the problems are is worth a thousand words,” he said.
His successor, John McKinnon, who will take over the reins as Eden unit commander next month, agreed.
“It’s good in both directions; they see us and we see them, and we all get a feel for who’s who.”
Stay tuned for our story on the handover of unit commander duties, online later today.