IN RESPONSE to David Thomas’ letter last week “Progress at VMR”, we are indeed proud of our achievements last year, with membership growing by 20%.
Our new custom-built rescue boat will hopefully be launched in March or April at a cost of nearly $900,000, and will be paid from funds on hand accumulated over 10 years through membership fees, activation fees, donations and through generous support from Airlie Beach Rotary and Lions Clubs and local businesses, coupled with a $160,000 grant from VMR HQ.
It will provide us with greater range, state of the art electronics and a safer and more stable operating platform in the sometimes wild Whitsunday seas so we can get out there as we help members of the public that are in distress, as well as frequent medivacs in conjunction with QAS.
We have also been fortunate to receive generous assistance from Whitsunday Regional Council to upgrade the Whitsunday Marine Club surrounds, including a sealed car park in conjunction with the Council owned Whisper Bay Boat Ramp project.
The Marine Club has invested in a cost effective solar power system (also supported by a subsidy), and when completed soon it will be an exciting, eco friendly function venue.
While we have funds to procure the new boat, fundraising continues to cover ongoing maintenance and operating costs, and another VMR Tropical Ball is planned for March 5, with details to be announced shortly.
All of our activity is undertaken by a small core of about 32 unpaid volunteers, manning phones and radios, fundraising, crewing the boat, training, and sometimes putting their own lives in jeopardy to save someone they have never met before.
If Mr Thomas also wishes to dedicate some time as a volunteer and get the odd urgent phone call in the dead of night, he is welcome to join us and go through the training process.
We are always looking for more active members to help spread the load.
We thank the Whitsunday community for their generous support and contributions, helping us to make the amazing Whitsundays a safer place to visit. Our volunteers save lives at sea, and are a vital safety link to the Whitsunday marine and islands community.
Mal Priday vice-president VMR Whitsunday