Safety at sea cru­cial to role

MARINE ED­U­CA­TION HAS BE­COME A DRIV­ING MISSION FOR GARY HAD­DOCK AT THE GREAT BAR­RIER REEF IN­TER­NA­TIONAL MARINE COL­LEGE, WRITES ALI­CIA NALLY

The Weekend Post - - News -

Not many peo­ple can say they ar­rived in Cairns by yacht from the Solomon Is­lands. But Gary Had­dock’s affin­ity with the sea be­gan long be­fore he set foot on dry land in the Far North and con­tin­ues to this day in his role as the marine in­dus­try port­fo­lio man­ager at the Great Bar­rier Reef In­ter­na­tional Marine Col­lege. Af­ter learn­ing to sail in the chilly winds of Port Phillip Bay off Mel­bourne as a kid, Mr Had­dock (above) was hooked on the mar­itime way of life and spent 25 years work­ing in a range of sec­tors in­clud­ing com­mer­cial busi­ness, tourism and the govern­ment in a va­ri­ety of lo­ca­tions.

NOT many peo­ple can say they ar­rived in Cairns by yacht from the Solomon Is­lands.

But Gary Had­dock’s affin­ity with the sea be­gan long be­fore he set foot on dry land in the Far North and con­tin­ues to this day in his role as the marine in­dus­try port­fo­lio man­ager at the Great Bar­rier Reef In­ter­na­tional Marine Col­lege.

Af­ter learn­ing to sail in the chilly winds of Port Phillip Bay off Mel­bourne as a kid, Mr Had­dock was hooked on the mar­itime way of life and spent 25 years work­ing in a range of sec­tors in­clud­ing com­mer­cial busi­ness, tourism and the govern­ment in a va­ri­ety of lo­ca­tions.

“I had no in­ten­tion of com­ing to Cairns to stay (when I ar­rived 30 years ago) but I have worked from here pretty much con­tin­u­ously since then,” Mr Had­dock said.

A project op­por­tu­nity to work with TAFE Queens­land and the Queens­land Govern­ment on oc­cu­pa­tional train­ing in the com­mer­cial div­ing sec­tor 10 years ago was the cat­a­lyst for the 56-year-old’s in­volve­ment with marine ed­u­ca­tion in the Far North.

The Great Bar­rier Reef In­ter­na­tional Marine Col­lege falls un­der the gov­er­nance of TAFE North Queens­land and Mr Had­dock said the in­sti­tute’s growth since it opened eight years ago was tes­ta­ment to the im­por­tance placed on train­ing in the some­times dan­ger­ous sec­tor. In 2011, the new col­lege han­dled 200 stu­dents.

In the last fi­nan­cial year alone, 1400 stu­dents grad­u­ated from the Port­smith fa­cil­ity and more than 120 Aus­tralian Mar­itime Safety Au­thor­ity and Mar­itime Safety Queens­land-ac­cred­ited course start dates were recorded.

Stu­dents are able to access state-of-the-art train­ing re­sources in­clud­ing a full mission bridge sim­u­la­tor, a tug-op­ti­mised bridge, desk­top sim­u­la­tors, a mul­ti­pur­pose emer­gency re­sponse train­ing sim­u­la­tor, engi­neer­ing work- shops, an im­mer­sion pool and train­ing ves­sel.

“It is fun­da­men­tally a ship-ashore fa­cil­ity in which staff de­liver train­ing through a range of live sce­nar­ios,” Mr Had­dock said.

“So stu­dents are trained on ex­actly how to re­spond on board, whether it is a small ves­sel or a ship.”

Stu­dents can gain real-life ex­pe­ri­ence from ex­tin­guish­ing fires on board, to deal­ing with a sink­ing boat within a me­tre and a half of wa­ter and ob­serv­ing works at lo­cal mar­itime fa­cil­i­ties like Nor­ship.

Fa­cil­i­ties in Townsville and

AF­TER LEARN­ING TO SAIL IN THE CHILLY WINDS OF PORT PHILLIP BAY OFF MEL­BOURNE AS A KID, GARY HAD­DOCK WAS HOOKED ON THE MAR­ITIME WAY OF LIFE

TRAIN­ING IS IN­CRED­I­BLY IM­POR­TANT IN THE MARINE IN­DUS­TRY PAR­TIC­U­LARLY ON THE SAFETY SIDE GARY HAD­DOCK

Thurs­day Is­land pro­vide sim­i­lar op­por­tu­ni­ties for those out­side of Cairns.

“There has been an ex­po­nen­tial in­crease in growth. We have a very small foot­print but very good re­sults,” Mr Had­dock said.

“Train­ing is in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant in the marine in­dus­try, par­tic­u­larly on the safety side. There are a set of safety re­quire­ments which span the in­dus­try.

“I’d say there are some­times un­pre­dictable risks be­cause you have en­vi­ron­men­tal fac­tors as well, which other in­dus­tries might not have.

“Equip­ment has to be in very good con­di­tion and you have to work in an en­vi­ron­ment that is con­stantly chang­ing.

“Cer­tainly we’ve got the equip­ment and fa­cil­i­ties here. We put stu­dents through very re­al­is­tic sce­nar­ios.”

That un­pre­dictable marine en­vi­ron­ment dis­as­trously claimed the lives of six Cairns men in one of the state’s worst mar­itime in­ci­dents when the FV Dianne cap­sized near Bund­aberg on Oc­to­ber 16.

Mr Had­dock re­flected on what he de­scribed as an “in­cred­i­bly sad event”.

“I know the crew had been trained. What­ever hap­pened could only have been un­fore­seen,” he said.

Mr Had­dock has over­seen the ex­pan­sion and de­cline of the Great Bar­rier Reef In­ter­na­tional Marine Col­lege’s ser­vices to the oil in­dus­try and its growth into the Tor­res Strait and Pa­pua New Guinea as well the do­mes­tic tourism sec­tor.

He hopes the growth of the su­pery­acht in­dus­try in Queens­land will also pro­vide more op­por­tu­ni­ties for the busi­ness.

“For me per­son­ally, I think Cairns is a great lo­ca­tion for the col­lege due to the way the air­port is con­fig­ured. We get peo­ple from all over,” he said.

“It’s a par­tic­u­larly at­trac­tive des­ti­na­tion for peo­ple com­ing down south from the win­ter and mariners are usu­ally happy to travel.”

Pic­ture: BREN­DAN RADKE

REAL-LIFE SCE­NAR­IOS: Gary Had­dock is the port­fo­lio man­ager at the Great Bar­rier Reef In­ter­na­tional Marine Col­lege Port­smith.

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