Freemasons get first look at progress of new life-saving marine rescue vessel

Vmr Hervey Bay Inspection Feb 2020 Large

With the construction of Volunteer Marine Rescue (VMR) Hervey Bay’s new $1.3 Million vessel now underway, two Wide Bay Freemasons have dropped in to see how things are progressing.

Today, Freemasons Peter Keller and John Parsons visited Allweld Manufacturing’s workshop in Maryborough to inspect Rescue 1, the 11.94-metre vessel which will be used to conduct patrols and rescues off the increasingly busy Fraser Coast. Last year, Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland on behalf of its members, provided a $400,000 Significant Grant towards the construction of the vessel. At the time VMR Hervey Bay had secured $160,000 in state government funding and had raised more than $767,000. A number of Lodges in the region championed the grant, helping to get the initiative over the line.

Wide Bay Freemason Peter Keller said it was exciting to see the vessel take shape.

“Today’s visit enabled us to see firsthand the sketches and modelling come to life. Seven of the aluminium frames are already in place, which will make up the middle part of the vessel,” Peter said.

VMR Hervey Bay Commodore John Smith said Rescue 1 is on track for completion in September and will be ready for service towards the end of the year.

Rescue 1 will enable VMR Hervey Bay to be sustainable in the long-term and will allow us to continue providing marine safety services in Queensland’s third-busiest rescue zone,” Commodore Smith said.

“In the past year alone, we have helped 381 people, responded to over 100 calls for assistance from disabled vessels, responded to fifteen sinking or grounded vessels, and conducted over 60 medical evacuations and 10 search and rescue missions.”

“With tourism and on-water recreational activity increasing in this region those numbers are only going to go up.”

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said the key to sustainable support is in providing a hand up, not a hand-out.

“Our focus has been to support communities, charities and individuals that have limited access to other funding sources. We’re proud to have helped VMR Hervey Bay to deliver essential services into the future,” Mr Mark said.

“We look forward to joining the people of the Wide Bay region for the commissioning of the new vessel later this year,” he said.

Photo: Allweld Manufacturing’s Josh Linwood, Wide Bay Freemasons John Parsons and Peter Keller, alongside Marine Rescue Hervey Bay Vice Commodore Jill Barclay.

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