If it’s not breezy it’s usually blowing a gale at Marine Rescue Eden but a rare morning of calm enabled a 24 metre communications tower to be erected without a hitch on Tuesday.
The $60,000 tower is part of a state-wide effort to fill in the black spots in marine VHF communications, a project that began when Marine Rescue NSW was formed with the merger of Australian Volunteer Coast Guard, the Volunteer Rescue Association, Marine Branch and the Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol in 2009.
With a view to improving communications during the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia has gifted a $27,000 SOLAS trust grant for the project.
Planning began around 12 months ago, with the first sod turned and around 25 metres of concrete poured for the foundations in September.
Aerial installation is expected to begin in four weeks with the tower to be fully operational by the start of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race on Wednesday, December 26.
Region controller for the Monaro, Bob Herbert of Cobargo, was on site to watch the tower lifted by crane onto its foundations after it was assembled earlier this week.
He said the new system should improve VHF (Very High Frequency) communications right down to the Bass Strait.
“It’s part of the VHF marine backbone system that we are running between the Queensland border and the Victorian border,” he said.
“But we should get VHF coverage right down through the Bass Strait too.”
Coverage is expected to extend 50 miles to sea.
Mr Herbert said broader radio range, combined with sizable boats based in Eden, Batemans Bay and Bermagui will mean Marine Rescue has the whole far south coast covered.
“We have another new vessel coming to Bermagui before Christmas, a 38 foot Steber like the one we have at Batemans Bay,” he said.
“With the water police here in Eden, Bermagui and Batemans bay each covering a 30 mile radius, we’ve got the whole thing covered from just south of Ulladulla to the border.”
As a result of the work, parking at Marine Rescue is quite limited.
Drivers are asked to park in Bramble Street and make use of the footpath, or turn left at the Marine Rescue building and park on the grass.