VMR re­sponds

Whitsunday Times - - WHITSUNDAY VIEWS -

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

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